County to share emergency services at stadium

05/07/08 Mitch E.Perry
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The Hillsborough County Commission today changed an ordinance that will now allow Hillsborough firefighters to provide emergency medical services at Raymond James Stadium.

Since the stadium opened a decade ago, only Tampa EMS workers have provided emergency services. But the Hillsborough Firefighters union has been chomping at the bit to get a piece of the action, and county attorneys said it was within their charter to change the ordinance to allow the county to share the work.

County Commissioner Jim Norman brought the issue up at the Tampa Sports Authority earlier this year. The issue has now become another obstacle in City/County relations.

David Smith, an attorney with the city of Tampa, argued against the ordinance change. The fire chiefs of Tampa, Plant City, and Temple Terrace also argued against changing the ordinance.

George Sucarichi, president of the Hillsborough County Firefighters Local 2294, called the city’s arguments futile, and said there was no reason to change the ordinance. He said if city attorneys want to sue, he’ll be happy to meet them in court.

The Tampa Sports Authority voted last month to allow country paramedics the opportunity to work alongside their Tampa colleagues at the football games, which pay between $25 to $35 an hour for the 10 home games a year.

With issues regarding the county and city, County Commissioner Rose Ferlita has frequently been a voice for Tampa concerns. Perhaps that’s not suprising, considering Ferlita is a Hyde Park resident who served on the Tampa City Council for eight years before being elected to the County Commission in 2006. She said both sides had legitimate issue.

The board vote 6-1 in favor of changing the ordinance, with Ferlita the lone dissenter. No word yet on what the city of Tampa may now do.

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