The EMS supervisor, Ellie Czarnota, announced that the crew stands behind the Hospital District board in their efforts to save local emergency services. The declaration was made on Monday, March 31, during the regular County Commissioners meeting.
An issue had been made at the meeting about the board by local resident Paul Sage. Sage requested that the commissioners involve the district court to demand that the Hospital District’s service plan be rewritten and expressed the desire that the Hospital Board be recalled if no change is made.
The commissioners did not make the motion to do so.
“If there is a recall election,” Commissioner Kit Shy said, “that is up to the citizens. I’m confident in this group working on EMS.”
Czarnota put down Sage’s remarks and worries by stating she was confident in the actions currently being taken by the board and EMS committee.
The commissioner’s told Sage to bring facts the next time he wants to make a presentation.
“I do think your priorities are wrong,” said Commissioner Lynn Attebery to the Hospital District board. “You need to do whatever it takes to save EMS, even if you need to use your entire mill levy to save it instead of using it for the clinic. That’s how I feel.”
The board does not see a solution to save EMS by cutting off the clinic.
“We are trying to keep both the clinic and EMS,” said Hospital District Chairman Joe Arbuckle, “not run either or.”
“The public has been let down,” said Commissioner Kit Shy. “Not by this board, because it took a long time to get to this point.”
The usual Tuesday night committee meeting was moved to 10 a.m. for a phone conference with the Hospital District’s attorney Dino Ross.
Ross helped the committee understand the Department of Labor’s findings from last week since the DOL refused to put in writing what its parameters are for running EMS.
Schedules can be made and a response time can exist. However, the EMS committee decided that wherever EMS goes, the 50-year plan is to make the medics and personnel paid employees.
“The tax issue is not the problem people think,” said previous hospital district volunteer Jon Carmain. “Yes, the mill levy was defeated but it was close. Roger Camper has been here a while and if he speaks, people will listen.”
Their options were outlined at the end of the meeting, stating that if EMS stays with the Hospital District, it must pay them as employees in order to keep the medics and personnel from finding work elsewhere.
Another option is to create an Ambulance District. Ross had explained if this was done, the district would be under the same scrutiny and rules as the Hospital District.
The favored option is to have EMS under the Fire District with stipend pay. Ross stated that if this occurred, for EMS to be considered part of the distric,t the personnel would have to undergo fireman training.
“I feel that we need to set a deadline,” said clinic director Delwin Lester. “We need to have a plan for EMS to present to the public soon.”
It was decided that a plan will be made and presented to the County Commissioners by the first week of May.
There will not be a committee meeting next Tuesday at the Fire House. The committee will reconvene after the Fire District has their monthly meeting on Wednesday, April 9. The next committee meeting will be on Tuesday, April 15.
“After we go to the commissioners,” Arbuckle said, “we will go to all of the public meetings, hold public forums and go to the senior center. We want to get input from the public. We need to know if they approve of whatever plan we decide on.”
Arbuckle later stated that an email will be set up and a phone number released for the public to contact the hospital and/or fire district boards and relay their opinions. This will be done after the first week of May.