EMS director position is still vacant

Posted By | September 13, 2012 12:00 am

A longtime employee of White County Emergency Medical Services once again appeared before commissioners to answer questions about his administrative skills and how he would improve the ambulance service if he were chosen as the new director.
Billy Price, a paramedic and longtime EMS employee, addressed commissioners at the meetings of Steering Committee A and Steering Committee B, on Sept. 10, 2012. Price faced the questions head-on, despite being rejected by commissioners for the director’s position during the July 16, 2012, meeting of the county court.
The history that precedes Price is as follows.
During the March 19, 2012, meeting of White County Board of Commissioners, the name of Rex Clouse was presented for EMS director. Clouse is a paramedic and longtime employee of EMS. White County Executive Herd Sullivan, who has sole authority to appoint someone to this position, presented Clouse’s name to the county commission, which must approve the appointment. Commissioners did not approve the recommendation.
Then, in April 2012, when EMS Director Ron Bennett retired, Sullivan named Clouse as interim director, although he had not been approved to take over as full-time director.
During the July 16, 2012, meeting of the county commission, Sullivan presented Price’s name. Price was not approved. At this point, Sullivan named Price the interim director, because Clouse reportedly asked to be removed from the responsibilities.
On Sept. 10, 2012, Price said he wanted to make himself available to answer questions posed by the commissioners who comprise the membership of both steering committees.
Commissioners were seemingly surprised to find out Price was no longer interim director and that Clouse had been re-named to that position.
When asked about the change in leadership, Price said he told Sullivan he did not want to serve as interim director if the majority of commissioners were not going to support him.
Commissioners said they understood Price’s concerns and proceeded with their questions.
Overtime at EMS has been a hot topic of discussion for the past several months, and Price was asked how he would alleviate this additional financial burden.
Price said he is reviewing several options that would help cut at least a portion of the overtime and possibly the entire amount.
Sheriff Oddie Shoupe said once any emergency services person is placed on call, “you automatically start the clock right then.”
Price said he would still help out and “jump in” an ambulance anytime he was needed. However, Commissioner Terry Alley said although he appreciates Price’s willingness to assist, he feels Price needs to focus on the administrative aspects of his job and be active within any organizations that would benefit the ambulance service.
“If there’s new equipment that’s coming down the line, you need to have enough brass about you to come to the county court…,” Commissioner Terry Alley said.
Alley said Price should be proactive about presenting the cost of such equipment to the commission and showing how the equipment would benefit the ambulance service.
Price assured Alley he would come before the commission with this type of information. Price said commissioners should be aware of how the ambulance service is spending taxpayers’ money.
Commissioner Al Klee agreed he would like to see better communication between county commissioners and the ambulance service.
“I’m interested in your morale,” Alley said. “I’d like to know that it’s getting better.”
Price said White County has “an outstanding ambulance service.”
“You’ve got some high-quality paramedics that work there,” Price said. “You’ve got five that are critical care.”
Price said he wants to keep an open line of communication with the commissioners and provide them with phone numbers where they can reach him at any time, if he is appointed to the director’s position.
He also talked about the first responder program and other classes. Price said he wants to “get things back to where they need to be.”
Sullivan will present Price’s name again at the Sept. 17, 2012, meeting of White County Board of Commissioners. The meeting time is 7 p.m. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

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