EMS moved under Public Safety Director

Published: Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 06:02 AM.

CHIPLEY — The county organizational chart was changed Thursday when the Washington County Board of County Commissioners decided to move the Emergency Medical Services department back under the purview of the county’s Public Safety Director.

Commissioner Lynn Gothard made the motion to move the EMS back under the Public Safety Director’s control per the county’s Proposed Progressive Governmental Structure chart, approved in 2008. After discussion, the commissioners voted to make the move, with Commissioner Joel Pate voting against the change.

On the chart, in 2008 the EMS is listed under the Public Safety director, but in 2009 the chart was revised and EMS was moved out to be a department on its own.

Currently the county does not have a public safety director, since the retirement of Roger Hagan in December.

“Roger Dale was a coordinator with all the departments,” Pate said. “They (EMS) pay more than half its own expenses because they can bill for their services,” Pate said. “And we’re not talking about putting someone there to tell them how to run their department.  

Pate said he was chairman of the commission when the EMS moved from the hospital to county control. “It’s been there for seven years, and our system works pretty good. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Pate added.

The process of creating the progressive structure for the county was a contentious one. “I came onboard to a stack of grievances,” said Human Resources Director Heather Finch, who provided commissioners with a copy of the county’s organizational chart. “It was very difficult, and we had people very upset.”

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