Des Plaines (IL) to Purchase Ambulance After Controversial Vote

Des Plaines’ city council voted 5-4 to purchase a horizontal exhaust ambulance, after rescinding an earlier vote to buy a vertical exhaust ambulance that some aldermen believe is safer.

One alderman claimed the vote to rescind was the result of “political games” and “arm twisting.”

Mayor Matt Bogusz, who said the vertical exhaust ambulance was a “solution in search of a problem,” asked aldermen on March 17 to reconsider their first vote and approve a resolution to rescind. One alderman, Jack Robinson of the 2nd Ward, originally voted for a vertical exhaust ambulance but switched his vote.

“It could be a very frustrating thing where if the eight of us sitting up here continue to vote, and you have five votes, things get approved, but if someone doesn’t like the outcome of it, then it’s brought back again,” said 1st Ward Alderman Patricia Haugeberg. “It’s very counterproductive, and it’s not moving our city forward.”

Fifth Ward Alderman Jim Brookman, a former Des Plaines firefighter who proposed the vertical exhaust system for ambulances, joined Haugeberg and 4th Ward Alderman Dick Sayad in saying that the council should look at changing its rules to prevent the mayor from placing resolutions to rescind on future meeting agendas.

Brookman has suggested there were “political games played” and “arm twisting” that resulted in the vote reversal.

“I should be able to vote and know after the meeting that whatever the vote was, the outcome was,” Brookman said. “There shouldn’t be a second bite of the apple by the unilateral decision of one person.”

Again arguing his case for a vertical exhaust ambulance, Brookman pointed to studies linking diesel exhaust fumes to cancer, and mentioned three Des Plaines firefighters by name who died from cancer.

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