The Times Journal & Russell County News
Friday, Apr. 18, 2014 — RUSSELL SPRINGS & JAMESTOWN, KENTUCKY — russellcounty.net
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Matters unsettled at ambulance service
In Nov. 6-12 Issue

The explanation of what happened Monday night depends on who you ask, as do many things having to do with the Russell County Ambulance Board.

That there was a called meeting isn't at issue. Why it came to be can vary depending on who is telling the tale.

According to the County Judge he'd no idea what was going on until he was given a letter of resignation by Ambulance Service Director Mark Coots during the meeting Monday.

Coots has said he made it clear that there were issues and there was nothing surprising about his resignation, given the friction that was evident between most of the ambulance service's administration of some members of the court.

There was, after all, the letter recently delivered to the board chairman Beckham Wilson by Garner, asking for Wilson’s resignation.

Wilson said he was aware of the friction, but hadn't expected, "to be handed a letter of resignation for me to sign."

The board at last Monday's meeting accepted Coot's resignation, but Wilson has not acquiesced to Garner's demand for his resignation.

He said he will be demanding a public hearing to address whatever complaints Garner has about how he has been administering the board's meetings.

For his part Garner said he was attempting to address what he feels is a poorly operated system. In an interview Tuesday Garner accused the ambulance board of holding secret votes during executive sessions.

He also mentioned operational problems involving the 911 dispatch center that had not been addressed, but after each incident he sited he added that he doubted if the supervisor was aware of the complaints he was mentioning.

Wilson said he'd heard Garner's accusations of failing to properly hold votes after motions during regular sessions of the board. However he said there were never any secret votes in executive sessions.

Garner said the two men have an appointment for a private meeting this week, but Wilson said the date mentioned was not the one he and his lawyer have been made aware of and both men said the matter would likely be addressed at next Monday's meeting of the fiscal court.

Wilson said he will not be forced out of office.

One of Garner's complaints was that the hours of Ronnie McGaha had been cut back. McGaha who had served as the county's road foreman during Garner's time as a magistrate was appointed to the 911 mapping position by Garner when he took over as the county judge.

But Garner denies accusations that he has been pressing Coots and Wilson as a gambit to protect his appointee's job, as he was also accused of attempting to protect the position of McGaha's wife Shiela who had been the supervisor of the dispatch center.

When asked about the issues Board Member David Withers, a Garner appointee would not comment. Roger Roy, the other member of the board said he didn't feel the accusations Garner had made were founded.

"I don't think that he has demonstrated the inadequacies that (Garner) pointed out," Roy said. "I think that Beckham has every right to pursue legal council in this."

Roy, an appointee by Russell Springs Mayor Hollis DeHart, said he saw no reason for Wilson to resign.

As to Coots' resignation he sited in his resignation letter the mental and physical impact of the recently intense stress of his position.

He included in the resignation a request that he continue to serve as a paramedic but no mention of that was made in the vote accepting his resignation.

Coots said in an interview after the meeting that he has been working at the ambulance service in Russell County since the early 90s.

"I'd like to return to that and just be left alone," he concluded.

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The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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P.O. Box 190
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Russell Springs KY 42642
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Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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