The company that provides Santa Clara County’s ambulance services is in need of rescue. In December 2010, the Board of Supervisors contracted with Rural Metro, which missed an important bond payment last week, leading industry insiders and county officials to worry that the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company may be headed towards bankruptcy. County CEO Jeff Smith and COO Gary Graves have said that the county is making contingency plans, which mainly consist of freaking-the-eff-out in between games of liar’s poker with Rural Metro execs. Word is Rural Metro has told the county it intends to restructure its debt, while there are also whispers that the company has informed its unions to prepare for the worst. From the county’s perspective, there are only three real options going forward: The county starts another competitive bid process for EMT services; Rural Metro defaults on its contract and the county gets all the company’s ambulances and assets, which can then be contracted out to a new company; or Rural Metro gets its act together and stops acting like a bunch of amateurs. The ambulance provider seemed to be finally coming to terms with its obligations after a receiving a stern letter in January from county EMS director Michael Petrie, who warned that continued slow response times in Sunnyvale could constitute a breach of contract. But now that all could be inconsequential, which raises the question: How did the county come to terms with such a bumbling organization? Cue George Shirakawa Jr.’s theme music. Pre-felony-charged Shirakawa and his former supervisor colleagues Mike Wasserman and Dave Cortese, both of whom remain on the Board, awarded Rural Metro the contract in a 3-2 vote, with Ken Yeager and Liz Kniss opposed. Fly called over to Wasserman’s office to check his 20-20 vision—in fairness, he was only in office for a couple weeks before the vote—but hindsight and common courtesy were in short supply, as no one bothered to return multiple phone calls. (Also in fairness, no supervisor is more petrified to rock the boat than Wasserman, who is up for re-election in 2014.) Cortese’s office said email was the best way to reach the supervisor, but apparently he couldn’t pull himself away from the beach, or at least that’s what pictures on his Facebook page suggest. But, in fairness to Cortese, we’re still a year out until he plans to run for mayor of San Jose—the city that would be most affected by a disruption in ambulance services that he voted for.