LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Lockport Common Council says the fire department’s ambulance service is here to stay, despite a recent lawsuit questioning it’s validity.
The lawsuit was filed by Alderwoman Kathryn Fogle and it questions the legitimacy of the council’s vote to approve the city’s ambulance service in December. The Common Council President called this lawsuit frivolous and said this service isn’t going anywhere.
The resolution voted on Wednesday night was passed unanimously and served as a reaffirming vote of the council’s position in December.
“They were requesting that the vote be considered null and void as how they wanted it to end. We just wanted to make sure that would never be a possibility,” Mayor Michelle Roman told News 4 after the meeting.
“While they may say this is a procedure thing, what they want is to make that resolution on the 19th null and void. Null and void means no ambulance,” Council President Paul Beakman said.
Ambulance service was restored at the fire department after Twin City Ambulance said it can no longer be the primary provider in Lockport. On December 19, the council voted to reinstate it and on February 14, Lockport Fire Ambulances were back on the streets.
“We followed every procedure to conduct a special meeting. Alderman Devine is a retired Assistant Chief. His voting on the ambulance does not affect his son as alleged in the lawsuit,” Beakman said.
Fire Chief Luca Quagliano says the service has helped hundreds of residents and has cut response times down to just minutes. He calls the lawsuit disheartening.
“I thought we were finally moving forward and some of this had calmed down and we were by it but apparently not,” Chief Quagliano said.
The lawsuit was filed last week by Alderwoman Fogle among other residents. It alleges the vote was done improperly, another alderman had a conflict of interest and shouldn’t have vote, and that the special session meeting did not follow public meeting law. Fogle was not at Wednesday night’s meeting.
“She decided that she needed to do this, but I need to make sure the city runs,” Mayor Roman said.
“She decided to go camping. She decided to sue us. She should’ve been here,” Beakman added.
News 4 reached out to Fogle and other plaintiffs, who did not respond to the request for comment, as well as the attorney representing them, who did not want to speak on camera.
The lawsuit will be heard in court on May 11. As for the ambulance service, the council says it is staying in service to help residents in the city.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.