May 31, 2015



Thursday night (5/28/15) during the crucial budget meeting, Karen Degges had to leave to attend a meeting at Station 3. She had NOT been invited by the firefighters, but it appears she showed up to protect and defend James Gregory, Fire/EMS Director.

Firefighters had called for the meeting because they wanted answers to Gregory’s directives which would leave firefighters working a structure fire without an ambulance on scene. Not only is this dangerous if a firefighter is injured or needs IV’s, but it also violates Federal regulations (NIMS) which states ambulances must be on a fire scene. Gregory told EMS personnel if they didn’t leave the fire scene and respond to the call if they were the only ambulance available, they would be fired. Gregory also said he would refuse to call in Mutual Aid to help in situations like this.

For each question presented, Karen Degges answered, not James Gregory, until the firefighters asked if James could talk. As she answered, Karen Degges blamed the BOC for all the problems presented. She told those in attendance that the Commissioners were dragging their feet and wouldn’t get another pumper truck. (This is entirely false. She wanted to buy a $217,000 truck without bids—against policy. When bids were taken and came in, the truck she said would cost $217,000 was bid out at $255,000.)

Another part of the problem in the county is EMS is at least 2 paramedics short. We have been told that EMS personnel are leaving in droves because no one wants to work with James Gregory. Many times only one ambulance can be staffed with one paramedic and one EMT (Advanced Life Support –ALS). The other ambulance may have 2 EMT’s which is BLS (Basic Life Support). However, narcotics are left on the BLS ambulance which is illegal. Things are so bad that a paramedic stays “on standby” at home and if called in has to leave from home and get to the station before the ambulance can leave to go on the call.

There were also complaints at the meeting that no training was offered. Karen Degges told them there was no money for training. (But there’s plenty for cell phones and iPad’s!?! How much training would $9,000 a year provide?) Who was responsible for adding this to the budget that was just submitted and approved? Jarrett Slocumb? James Gregory? Karen Degges?

The lack of training, as well as problems with James Gregory, is causing firefighters to leave. One major complaint is James Gregory refuses to answer his phone. Sources tell us that during the big wreck on Hwy 16 W at the Butts County line a week or so ago, Gregory was repeatedly called by the personnel on scene, and he would never answer his phone. This has been a complaint since James Gregory was hired; we have also been told that he has directed EMS staff not to call him on weekends.

An EMT present at the 5/28/15 meeting stood up and quoted the EMS book that states it is wrong to take an ambulance off-site from a structure fire being worked by firefighters. In a previous meeting, James Gregory was asked, “What happens if an ambulance is not on the scene and a firefighter gets hurt?” His answer was, “Put them in the back of Jarrett’s pickup truck and take them to the hospital.” Karen Degges tried to refute that Gregory said that, but she wasn’t there at that meeting and sources tell us he did say it.

The firefighters wanted to know what is the solution, and Ms. Degges told them to get her a list of what they need and she would present it to the BOC. They said they wanted a meeting with the BOC themselves. Ms. Degges told them to give her 3 dates, so they did. Then she told them all, “Someone will have to text them to me because I have Menopausal Short Term Memory Loss.”

Also during the meeting a firefighter’s resignation letter was read. It reveals what goes on and has been going on for years at Fire and EMS. In part that letter said—

                Inflated egos, department politics, and administrative incompetence are the biggest obstacles. There are ambiguous policies and procedures. There is a toxic, dysfunctional, and male chauvinistic environment.

Our firefighter’s lives are in danger and citizens’ lives are in danger because of an incompetent administration and policies that are only enforced to remove the people those in charge and their cronies don’t like.

The job description for EMS Director requires a Paramedic; James Gregory is only an EMT. If the BOC doesn’t do something soon and hire a competent person to lead EMS, no one will work for Jasper County EMS.






This entry was posted in Budgets, County, EMS, Fire and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. pablo says:

    Jasper county is a wonderful county and has tremendous potential with fire and ems if they would just stop putting unqualified people in these positions. James Gregory is an emt and has proven he doesn’t know the laws or how to run a service. he was able to hide behind smoke and mirrors in the other county but one this small you must bring your a game. Fire this guy and bring back the immensely qualified emts and paramedics you lost.

  2. Setting Priorities says:

    It comes down to priority.

    The commissioners have no trouble spending money on ACCG training, travel and hotels, or giving money to the Jasper County 4-H club or to the Mentoring program. There is money for all kinds of things but there is no money for training EMT’s?

    I understand that funds are limited and priorities need to be set. Obviously EMS is a low priority with this administration.

  3. cheryl nowetner says:

    If we don’t get rid of Karen Deggs there won’t be a Jasper County to manage. She spends money on what ever she wants like it was water and cares nothing for the welfare of the citizens of our county. The old saying is to when you cut off the head of the snake the problem dies, it’s now time to get rid of Jasper Counties number one problem and that is the county manager

  4. Medic15 says:

    Some more stupid things James Gregory has said/done. 1: I don’t need a paramedic to staff these trucks. 2: Two EMT-I’s make an ALS truck (I bet the state would disagree) 3: attempted to give a congratulate a crew that who were within eyesight of one call and decided to turn around to go to another call, committing an act of negligence and patient abandonment, after being written up by the fire chief.

  5. carl says:

    Huh. Seems nothing has changed. Your fire and ems are still incompetently run. And, seemimgly, will continue to be. All the items stated in the resignation letter are actually, patently true. And have been for several years. Quality, skilled and experienced paramedics and emt’s have been summarily fired or forced to resign simply by recognizing and speaking out about the imcompetant leadership. I find it hard to call what they do as leadership with a straight face. Perhaps, when hit with a serious negligence lawsuit, brought forth by those who were supposed to be served and protected, some one will unass their heads. That suit will be easily won as negligence in this case will be easily proven and all three standards just as easily met. To my friends still putting it all on the line, stay safe, be smart, you are always in my prayers. You need em

  6. Trudy says:

    OMG! The chairman has hearing loss and memory problems, and now the county manager has joined the group by announcing her short term memory loss! What a development….

  7. CSR says:

    Short term memory loss explains a lot.

    I often wondered why we keep getting conflicting information, fact and figures. Now we know. It’s because she can’t remember what she had told the BOC before.

    It appears that memory loss is not confined to the county manager or the BOC chairman. Some of the other commissioners don’t seem to recall a lot of things either. With a few exceptions, they never correct anyone or ask questions when statements are made that differ from what has previously been disclosed.

  8. BrokeBack Taxpayer says:

    The first thing that came into my mind after reading this is the total waste of taxpayer money spent on sending our commissioners to ACCG meetings. I remember being at a BOC meeting recently and Trammell was telling everyone at the meeting he had to get out of there and head to Savannah for the weekend meeting. Commissioners have also had meetings in Atlanta and instead of driving, they spend the night @ additional taxpayer expense. In this age of technology where teleconferencing and on line education is common it is inexcusable for county employees to throw away taxpayer money by not using that technology.

    The latest spending spree on the iPad’s and cell phones is a classic example of the county manager and BOC’s lack of administrative skill to prioritize spending.

    These retreats the commissioners attend do absolutely nothing to improve their job performance. They are basically social meetings to network with the goode ole boys which they hope will advance their political careers. Commissioners, how about returning calls, addressing problems, and networking with the citizens of Jasper county.

    Oh—I just have to comment on Ms. Degges menopausal short term memory loss problem. I have heard of many excuses for incompetence, but this takes the cake. It seems like the older I get memory lapses happen a lot more than when I was 20 years old. Just about everyone I know seems to have the same problem, and Karen, I do not think it is due to menopausal problems, because the last time I checked I was a male. If this is a conic problem with you or any of the commissioners, then you need to step down and let a competent person take over your position.

    • I-Pwnd Public says:

      Just because one reads, does not necessarily mean they comprehend .
      And there is NO technology in the world that can turn willful ignorance into wisdom. Knowledge requires education and there are those guided by an agenda who will accept no instruction to the contrary. We call these people Commissioners .

  9. Gayle says:

    I heard about this yesterday. I was told that Saturday no one was at station one but the ambulance was there. A person that came there then headed to Newton county hospital with the child. What can we do ?

    Gayle Gray


    • Concerned Momma says:

      I am actually the mother who tried using our local EMS services on Saturday night.

      My daughter got bit by a few ants and out of no where started having an allergic reaction. Her leg began to hurt to the point of her being in tears, her bites swelled up to twice the size of quarters, labored breathing, fever and chest pains.

      I immediately loaded her up and headed to our local station (station 1). When I arrived the entire station was locked up and medic 1 was inside with no one on staff. The local county dispatch was contacted and I was informed that the was no one staffing station 1 that day.

      With no one there to help us, I then took my daughter to Newton County ER where she was treated for a severe allergic reaction.

      I am just so very grateful that the situation was not more severe and my daughter ended up being okay. But I am also very upset that our local EMS was not there when we needed them. Something needs to be done in the county to make sure these stations are staffed 24/7 for the community.

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