The Westminster City Council Wednesday approved a controversial contract with the new owner of the ambulance company that serves the city.

The three-year, $2.5-million contract for Shoreline Ambulance LLC was approved on a 3-0 vote. Absent for the vote were Councilman Andy Quach and Councilwoman Margie Rice, who left before the vote. She said she was ill.

Shoreline LLC purchased the firm Shoreline Ambulance Corp. of Huntington Beach, which has provided Westminster’s emergency ambulances for the last five years. Last year Shoreline Corp. won a new contract to assist paramedics from the Orange County Fire Authority.

The switch in ownership is controversial because Shoreline LLC was fined a record $33,750 last May by Los Angeles for repeatedly operating ambulances improperly. Shoreline officials denied the allegations but paid the fine.

Then in December it emerged that Los Angeles County Health Department officials were investigating Shoreline LLC for a separate incident last June when ambulance personnel were alleged to have jeopardized a patient’s care by “negligent” actions during transport. Again Shoreline officials denied any impropriety.

Late last year, the Orange County Health Care Agency granted Shoreline LLC a permit to operate here, despite the company’s issues in Los Angeles.

Shoreline ambulances respond to 911 calls to transport victims to hospitals while being treated by Orange County Fire Authority paramedics. Te authority provides service to Westminster under a separate contract.

Rex Dalton is a San Diego-based journalist who has worked for the San Diego Union-Tribune and the journal Nature. You can reach him directly at rexdalton@aol.com.

Since you've made it this far,

You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.

BREAKING TEXT ALERTS

Subscribe today to receive Voice of OC’s breaking news text messages (free beyond your standard messaging rates).

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.