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. 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. 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. 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.