In June 17 Issue
The new members of the Russell County Ambulance Board ended their Tuesday night meeting with the acceptance of Joe Flanagan's resignation and abolishment of the position to which he had been posted.
Flanagan, who had been the director of the service, resigned from that position because of health problems. He was posted by the board to the position of “advisor,” when he resigned, about two months ago.
Since then, the board that had made that decision was unable to meet because of questions about whether one, then all the members were legally still on the board.
The new board, made up of Mike Popplewell, James Gray, and Leslie Simpson was appointed at a fiscal court meeting Monday night.
The first action the board took Tuesday night was to put off making any decision.
The question before them was changes to the inter-local agreement the board operates under.
The topic was changes requested by a state auditor, Gary Jennings who oversees Kentucky's access to the National Crime Information Center computer link.
Jennings sent a letter to the board detailing his issues with the way the board was organized and their powers.
Tara McQueary, the 911 Dispatch Supervisor, told the board that Jennings letter to her made it clear that the service was at risk for sanctions if the board was not specifically given the power to hire and fire as well as the power to set policy in the dispatch center.
Popplewell, who was the only member to cary over from the previous board, said, “I don't see where it said you are not in compliance,” after reading the letter.
“If we re-word the agreement we would be in compliance,” asked newly elected Board Chairman James Gray.
The board attorney Athena Cooper said that was what was needed, and that law enforcement personnel must have management and control of the dispatch center.
“It doesn't say 100 percent that we are not in compliance,” Popplewell said again.
He made a motion to table the issue, and investigate further.
Terry Hancock, acting director of the ambulance service, asked the board about, “turning it back over.”
When pressed about the nature of the question he indicated he was talking about ending the inter-local agreement and esentially cutting the dispatch service lose.
“All of this has been going on a while,” began Gray. “I'm sure one or two days more won't make a difference.
“This is my first day on the board and I'm not going to make that kind of decision,” he concluded.
Simpson concurred saying he was not going to rush into any decision and would need time to review the facts in order to make the best decision possible for the county.
The board also directed Cooper to advise officials about the board's reconstitution and ask if the fine imposed because of Flanagan's work on an ambulance crew while he was un-certified could be lowered.
The board also terminated a part-time dispatcher, Landon Meece.