In Oct. 14 IssueBy Kim GrahamTimes Journal Reporter
In a unanimous vote at their regularly scheduled meeting, the Russell County Ambulance Board approved a proposed interlocal agreement to keep 911 Dispatch in Russell County one year until permanent funding sources are allocated.
The new agreement, written by Russell County Ambulance Board Attorney Jeff Loy, details funding sources and payment schedules, creates an Emergency 911 Services Board, covers facilities and expenses, and specifies the duration of the agreement.
No provision for a restructure of the Ambulance Board is included in the new agreement, therefore the same board will continue to serve their allotted terms.
"I believe this agreement has addressed every entity's concerns and it's worded where everybody is happy," said Board Chairman James Gray.
Russell County Fiscal Court also voted this week to approve the new agreement.
Pending approval by Jamestown City Council and Russell Springs City Council, the new interlocal agreement would take effect beginning October 19, 2010.
"We do have approval by Gary Jennings with Link and we do have the AG approval," said Loy. "Upon approval by all the entities we're official."
Still board members expressed concern for a long term solution to funding issues.
"I want to make it plain that I don't think this is a fix, I really don't. I think it's a band aid but there again because of the need for an emergency service and because the people of Russell County need a 911 system, I'm willing to go along with it for a year," said Popplewell. "I think the county will find out it's not a fix too in the long run but we have to have a 911 service for the people and that's what we're here for is the people."
Board Member Leslie Simpson believes carrying out the agreement will reveal funding issues the EMS Board has dealt with in the past.
"It's one thing to tell somebody something but it's another thing to see it," said Simpson. "I think they're really going to see how much it really costs to run (911 Dispatch)…I think that's really going to be an eye opener for them."
For some, the one year agreement seems a brief time to address a permanent 911 Dispatch funding solution.
Gray stressed a need for action toward a long term solution to begin soon after the interlocal agreement is effective.
"I would hope that everybody by now has realized that within the next year there needs to be some type of permanent funding mechanism put in place for 911 because this is a one year agreement," said Gray. "I hope we don't wait 11 ½ months to try to figure it out but once the new judge is in place and the new fiscal court, whomever those people are, need to take this up fairly soon and not put it off…this is not a long term fix…hopefully we don't wait 11 ½ months to start thinking about it again."
The board went into executive session per KRS 61.810(1)f to discuss personnel matters.
All actions taken by the board when they returned from executive session were unanimously approved.
The board approved hiring Ronnie McGaha as a fulltime EMT and Robin Spoon as a Part-time Paramedic.
Approval was given by the board to issue $1 per hour pay raises to both Johnny Whitis, Shift Supervisor and Charlotte Embry, Office Manager.
In other business:
• Ambulance replacement was discussed for unit 41. EMS Director Terry Hancock said they have continuously repaired ongoing mechanical and electrical problems and he recommended the board look at purchasing a new ambulance v/s refurbishing the vehicle to determine the most cost effective solution.
• The board discussed making updates to the EMS handbook and Policies and EMS Procedures guidelines.
• Establishing a standardized pay scale was discussed to provide fair and equitable salaries among EMS staff based on training and years of service.
• Non Smoking policy discussion "All I'm saying is the rules that govern the upstairs, should govern the downstairs because it is the same building," Popplewell said.
• Board Attorney Jeff Loy gave a report on the status of the lawsuit filed by James S. Faller II and Amy Mischler. Loy said an amended complaint was filed October 6th. He said Judge Douglas George from Springfield decided at a hearing held Monday that he will stay any order until the interlocal agreement is approved.