By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — Cataldo Ambulance will continue to serve the town through 2025 after the Town Council renewed the ambulance company’s contract this week.
The Town’s Emergency Management Director, Tom Walsh, appeared before the Town Council along with Kevin Turner, Chief Operating Officer of Cataldo Ambulance and Rob White, Senior Director of Operations for the company.
Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio reminded the Town Council that in 2019 the town decided to put its ambulance contract out to bid. Four or five ambulance services applied, Maio noted, and Cataldo was the unanimous recommendation of the town’s Police, Fire and Emergency Management departments.
Maio added that when the pandemic hit, he was “very glad we went with Cataldo.” He noted that Cataldo partnered with the town in running vaccination clinics as well as training and outreach. He also observed that Cataldo is a presence at most town events.
Town Councilor Edward Dombroski praised Maio for taking the initiative to put the ambulance contract out to bid in 2019 rather than just renewing the existing contract at the time. He also expressed appreciation that Cataldo was a very visible presence in town throughout COVID.
Town Councilor Robert Vincent praised the contract proposal and called the way the contract was handled “an example of excellent government.”
Councilor Jonathan Chines wanted to know if there were any changes in the new Cataldo contract.
Walsh said that the town had wanted two paramedics on every ambulance but had settled for one paramedic and one basic life support EMT due to a statewide shortage of certified paramedics.
Turner added that staffing has been an issue since the pandemic. He said that COVID took a toll on workers throughout the healthcare field. With only a couple of hundred new paramedics certified each year statewide, it has been difficult to replace those who left during COVID.
He said that Cataldo has increased wages where possible. He also noted that Cataldo just became certified as a paramedic school. He said that they hope to train some of their own EMTs as paramedics to help fill the shortage.
White added that company owner Dennis Cataldo “is all about being part of the community.” He noted that the rehabilitation of Cataldo’s Wakefield headquarters on Water Street is well underway.
The Town Council vote to renew Cataldo’s contract for three years was unanimous.