EMS—Video of BOC Discussion on Privatizing

From “bidding out services” to “What can we do to improve service?” 

After saying there had been problems the entire 28+ years he had been on the BOC and even though there had been committees previously, Comm. Pennamon decided there would be an another committee appointed to look into EMS.   This could be a good thing, but most BOC appointed committees end up doing a lot of work and get little praise or credit.  Committees keep the heat off the commissioners.

Watch Part 1 of 3 videos showing the entire EMS discussion.

Both Comm. Luke and Comm. Trammell made comments about the “miscommunication in the general public.”  What do they expect when everything they had done about EMS was behind closed doors until they talked about privatization at a budget meeting only attended by 2 people?  If they don’t want “miscommunication” then the BOC needs to be open and transparent with the citizens. 

There was a good bit of discussion about the ambulances, if they were operating, how many were operating, etc.  Why doesn’t the BOC go out for bid for a new ambulance with the 2012 SPLOST money?  They seem to be able to afford all kinds of new equipment for Public Works, but no ambulance purchase has been discussed.

Watch Part 2 of 3 videos showing the entire EMS discussion.

The committee to be formed will have 9 representatives.  There may be 2 citizens—one from Turtle Cove and one from Hillsboro.  All other members will be appointed by the BOC (one member of the BOC to serve), hospital, City of Monticello, City of Shady Dale, EMS, Sheriff, and  health department.  There is concern with the lack of private citizens on this committee.

Watch Part 3 of 3 videos showing the entire EMS discussion.

Comm. Pennamon made several statements during the discussion that need the rest of the story added:

  1. 1.      There is $150,000 per year budgeted for overtime.  There WAS $150,000 per year budgeted for overtime, but the BOC cut that by $50,000 upon recommendation by the County Manager during budget hearings.  Overtime is something that will occur based on the way EMS personnel works. 
  2. 2.      No EMT makes $8.00 per hour.  Many EMT’s made $8.00 per hour until there were adjustments made in November 2012.  Some newly hired EMT’s were making more than those that had been working several years.  Raises were given based on years worked and other criteria to equalize pay among the EMT’s.
  3. 3.      EMS costs the County $800,000 per year.  The budgeted expenses may be $800,000, but EMS also brings in revenues to the county.  In 2012-2013, this was about $440,000.  In 2013-2014 with the new rates suggested by the EMS director, the revenues would be closer to $600,000.  EMS will cost the county approximately $200,000 (based on budget discussions) from July 2013 to June 2014—barely more than the budget for Recreation (which is $193,000)!

Comm. Salmon said “bidding out was not what was going to be done.”  He indicated that that is not what the agenda item was; however, the document in the agenda packet shows “Recommended motion–Approve Authorization

THIS IS EXACTLY WHY THERE ARE CONCERNS BY THE CITIZENS.  Half truths and limited information, not truth and transparency!

Once the committee members are named, each meeting will have to be posted and the meetings will be open to the public (part of open meetings laws).  We will do our best to find out when these meetings will be and let you know.

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5 Responses to EMS—Video of BOC Discussion on Privatizing

  1. Gay Morrison says:

    As a citizen that has an 84 year old mother living with me and have had the need to call on our EMS from time to time….I have not had one single problem with the folks that have come to me in my time of need. The response has been quick every time and and they did not leave until all was good with an occasional transport on to the hospital. I would not trade any of them for something else.

    I think the BOC needs to be proud of our EMS and if they think there are problems, they need to state specifically what those issues are. I can only think of two people involved with our EMS and Fire departments that make life difficult for everyone else. Get rid of those two and the problem is solved. They are probably the ones telling the BOC that there are problems that do not exist.

  2. Carl says:

    I have been enlisted to take on the role of the voice of many of your EMS providers and Fire Fighters who fear what seems to be a very real fear of retribution from your BOC and County manager. I personally know quite a few of both. As a professional Fire Fighter and Paramedic, I would like to assure the citizens of the level of service provided by most of the folks who serve your area. I do live in Jasper and commute to another county for my full time job. I’m tired of seeing EMS and Fire Fighters trotted out when the :”Hero’s” need to be paraded about. The providers currently employed by Jasper County should be and need to be recognized for the level of expertise and experience they bring to us every day. The vast majority are seasoned, experienced professionals. Somehow, our county has manged to draw actual talent into the ranks of our providers. These guys (and girls) come to us from MCCG , Grady and surrounding counties. We are LUCKY to have them, and the experience they bring to the party. Public safety has never been intended to be a profit maker. It is a service offered to the citizens of a county. Jasper: You should consider yourselves lucky to have drawn the level of talent you have drawn

  3. sue says:

    The level of informed decision making this current BOC displays is so disappointing. I thought they campaigned on was both informed and transparent. Why do they want to make out our EMS service a “goat”? Short sighted, and ignorant I say. How are these “heros” indicted? I have had them to my house many times ( my dad has a laundry list of heart problems).. They have never been less than a professional group. Sometimes, I’m not sure if dad really has to go to the hospital. I trust their judgement and advice. They always suggest that he goes, just to be certain. I, for one, trust their judgement.. The current level of experience and professionalism displayed by these professionals is unequaled, in my previous experience.

  4. jan says:

    I have willingly been enlisted by more than ” a few” people who serve us, both Fire Fighters and EMS ( they are NOT “ambulance drivers”) So here is their point, indirectly: WE are not a line item on your budget. YOU are No longer allowed to trot us out as your “hero’s” as it suits you, or is to your political benefit, then cite the expense of what we provide to your citizens, who happen to be your voters. Jasper County currently receives the benefits of seasoned, professionally trained EMS providers from all over the Metro area. These folks work here willingly, not as only those the county could get. They come from wildly varying diverse backgrounds like MCCG or Grady. Some commute more than 30 mins to help us. EMS is a service provided to the citizens of a county, city, or region as a benefit… not a “profit center”. Jasper, I know a lot of your providers.. you should be proud of the professionals who wait to serve you., your governors should hang their heads in shame for not supporting them .

  5. phil says:

    With all the incorrect statements made by Comm Pennamon no wonder people are concerned. Why does he dislike EMS so much. It’s obvious he has some personal issues regarding EMS. 29 years of problems? He never once states the problems. I have heard that that the BOC is trying to keep EMS from attending these meetings I would like to know if this is true? I was told not 1person in uniform was at meeting that seems strange since they were on the agenda. Why don’t Comm. Pennamon just say once and for all what HIS problem is With EMS so we can stop harassing these people and let them do there job.

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