About 28 Southwest Ambulance and Rural/Metro Fire Department employees were laid off this week in Maricopa County as part of a streamlining process.
In all, 40 positions were cut across Arizona. That includes both layoffs and the elimination of vacant positions, said Jeff Sargent, president of Southwest Ambulance, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rural/Metro Corp.
“There were no direct field operations positions lost,” he said.
“Nobody needs to worry about the performance of Southwest Ambulance or Rural/Metro Fire.”
Administrative management and support positions were eliminated, said Robin Carney, Southwest Ambulance’s director of marketing.
“It’s just directing the focus toward providing continued excellent customer service … creating an opportunity for placing responsibility in the hands of those working more closely with our customers and patients,” she said.
The downsizing was not a corporate initiative, said Liz Merritt, Rural/Metro’s corporate spokeswoman.
“The downsizing at Southwest Ambulance and Rural/Metro Fire is part of a regional downsizing only,” she said. “There are no other operations affected.”
The positions eliminated were at the middle-management level, giving more authority to market-level managers, Sargent said.
“It’s putting basically the ability to manage the company in the hands of the people in the field,” he said.
“(Authority) had been at a higher level than it needed to be. This eliminated some of the middle-management structure.”
Southwest Ambulance has more than 1,200 employees and nearly 300 ambulances.
In Maricopa County, Rural/Metro Fire has stations in Fountain Hills, Cave Creek, Carefree, Queen Creek and the eastern and western portions of the county.