TOMS RIVER-In American politics, nothing is unbiased any longer, especially the media. This weekend, a blog website run by Toms River Democrats under the auspices of being a neutral media website criticized the Geoghegan family which founded the Silverton First Aid Department.
Democrats launched the apparent attack against Republican Brian Geoghegan, a retired Jackson Police Officer who now serves as the Manager of Howell Township, who is currently running reelection as a fire commissioner for the township’s Fire District No.2.
The Democrats claimed Geoghegan’s position as a fire commissioner which supplies funding to the Silverton EMS is a conflict of interest because his brother Kevin is President of the Silverton EMS.
They called for the Silverton EMS to open their books to the public. Silverton EMS fire back at the Democrat’s assault.
“Last night, a politically motivated article was written defaming Silverton EMS. The members of the squad wish to offer the following information so the public has the most accurate information. The public is encouraged to contact the Squad with any questions they may have,” the Silverton EMS said in statement. “Since 2012 the squad has maintained a staff ‘in-house‘ at their building available for emergency response, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year and currently answers over 2200 calls for service annually. Yes, it is true that Silverton EMS does bill medical insurance for services. They bill the same amount as the other First Aid Squads in town as well as the Township’s Community Service Officers and is basically the standard charge throughout that industry. At no time will a resident of the Township receive a bill for services from Silverton EMS. If insurance isn’t available or declines payment, there is no charge to the resident, ever.”
They said money collected, along with donations received by the squad pay for staffing 2 EMT’s around the clock, insurance, vehicles and supplies.
“The squad regularly re-stocks equipment used by the Police Department without reimbursement from the Township including first aid supplies, oxygen supplies and defibrillator pads. Nor is it seeking any, as it is simply the right thing to do. The article claims Silverton EMS has ‘exclusive rights’ to answer calls in certain areas and insinuates some type of monopoly,” it continued. “The reality is, Silverton EMS, along with all other Township First Aid Squads all have primary response areas that mirror the primary response areas of your local fire departments. In fact, all Township EMS agencies interact with each other daily covering the needs of the Town. “
The Statement Continued:
The only tax money received by the Squad is a $7000 annual allotment from the Toms River Township’s annual ($124,000,000) budget for fuel and maintenance at the Township Garage.
They also receive $5000 from the District #2 Board of Fire Commissioners annual budget of $3,500,000. These allotments were established many years ago and have been reduced over time. The Squad’s building on Maine Street does not pay property taxes. There is no property tax levy on non-profits, just as Fire Houses, Municipal Buildings, Schools and Churches. In fact, the property of the Squad has been deeded that will perpetually remain in public interest. Therefore, even if the Squad ceased functioning, it would most likely not returned to the tax rolls. Additionally, the squad meets all reporting requirements for non-profits as required by the Internal Revenue Service.
The article then goes on to name certain members of the Squad, leading the uninformed to believe there is some hidden benefits provided to them. The Squad is governed by a Board of Directors, all of which are not compensated. The day-to-day function of the Squad is managed through the Administrator, Kevin Geoghegan, who does not receive a salary for his work. In fact, he volunteers an average of 2500 hours per year managing the Squad and ensuring adequate staffing on the ambulances in addition to his service with the Silverton Volunteer Fire Company. He is provided the use of a squad vehicle, as do our local Fire Chiefs. Kevan Kubiel is a staff EMT with the Squad. He does not hold any position of authority, nor is he compensated for anything beyond his hourly role as an EMT. Brian Geoghegan is a District #2 Fire Commissioner for 2 years, a life member of Silverton EMS as well as a Firefighter and Life Member of the Silverton Volunteer Fire Company. In fact, the Geoghegans are the son of a Founding member of Silverton EMS, Jerry Geoghegan; and part of three generations that remain active in Silverton to this day.
So, in summary, the Silverton EMS does receive a total of $12,000 in annual support that comes from your tax dollars, to answer over 2200 calls. The only paid staff are those EMT’s that respond to your call 24 hours a day. The balance of their operation is funded through the billing of medical insurance (when it is available).
While the Squad is disheartened by this vicious, politically motivated attack; we will continue to be there for you, the residents of Silverton and Toms River. We remain available to respond in your time of need, as well as answer any questions about our operation. It is unfortunate that any posts supporting the Squad on a certain Facebook page are immediately deleted. For those ‘keyboard warriors’, we encourage you to come to the Squad building. The leadership of the squad will make any records available for you to examine (obviously with the exception of patient records). We look forward to your continued support.