Look down the list of major expenses for Forest Park’s village government and the cost of paramedics will rank high. It is an essential service in a field without endless numbers of competitors. Perhaps that is why Forest Park has, somewhat uncritically we’d say, stuck with Paramedic Services of Illinois (PSI) for more than 20 years. Maybe it was inertia.
In any case, PSI is gone. Replaced by Metro Paramedic Services, a larger company, servicing multiple neighboring communities and offering a notably lower cost.
The village council made the unanimous decision at its March 23 meeting, crediting village staff for actively sorting out the pros and cons and making a strong recommendation for the change. Village Administrator Tim Gillian specifically thanked Fire Chief Bob McDermott for the research he did on the issue.
Gillian threw some shade at PSI, which came back with an offer to match its competitor’s price. “If you can do it for less, why weren’t you already offering us a better rate?” he asked. Good question. Likely tied to the comfortable stasis of 20 years without hard questions.
Like every other town, Forest Park has economic challenges. Major costs have to be challenged. And vendors should be expected to either shave costs or upgrade services to keep the steady business a municipality provides.
Credit also goes to Mayor Rory Hoskins and the council for their openness to change. There are advantages to fresh eyes after a 20-year mayoralty. And certainly in a first term, everything ought to be ripe for examination.