DEMSI Not In Compliance, Faces Possible Sanctions

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DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) - You may remember last Friday night we told you of paramedics in Decatur who walked off the job. Employees of Decatur EMSI (DEMSI) have complained for months of bounced and late paychecks. And when paychecks didn't come again last week, the employees took action. Now, the City of Decatur is getting involved.

Officials at Morgan County 9-1-1 confirmed Thursday DEMSI has not been in compliance with city regulations since last Friday.

"Fortunately the other ambulance company has increased staffing," according to Morgan County 911 Director Ryan Welty. He added, "Today we have five First Response trucks and two Decatur EMS trucks on duty."

This is not the first time DEMSI has failed to meet the requirements of the city's ambulance ordinance. Recently, Decatur's EMS Committee decided to take no action against the company after a similar lapse in service that occured in October. But this most recent lapse in service, lasting six days thus far, will be discussed at a specially called meeting of the committee on February 21st.

WHNT News 19 has spoken with a number of DEMSI's paramedics who tell us it is not unusual for their paychecks to be late, and say they often have trouble cashing them. They tell us the company has had financial problems for some time. Our efforts to reach a DEMSI company spokesperson Thursday were unsuccessful.

DEMSI's ambulance crews walked off the job Friday night shutting the service down temporarily saying they were simply tired of not getting paid.

DEMSI could face the loss of their license to operate in Decatur. The EMS committee will make a recommendation to the city council for them to decide what action, if any, should be taken.

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