Archive for Thursday, June 28, 2007

EMS talks resume

June 28, 2007

An interlocal agreement that would put the Eudora Emergency Medical Service under city supervision appears to be moving on with one less player.

Representatives from Eudora Township decided not to enter into a drafted agreement approved by the Eudora City Council at the end of April.

Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty and Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle were informed of the situation last week by the county, Beatty said.

The agreement would place oversight of the Eudora Emergency Medical Service, which acts as a first response unit, into the hands of Eudora City Fire Chief Randy Ates.

Ates would be relying on his background in the emergency medical field to handle personnel issues and general management of the service. In this case, he just happens to be the city fire chief, Beatty said.

The city's goal is to improve the quality of care given by the first responders in the area. It could be done through Ates' oversight of protocols and ability to continue the professional development of EMS members. His management also guarantees a full-time representative would be available to handle equipment breakdowns and recruitment.

"The county just asked us if we were still willing to manage," Beatty said. "It's still not a city program. It's going to be a county program, with a city staff person managing it."

The original draft of the agreement split responsibilities between the county, township and city.

Although under the management of a city employee, the Eudora EMS would remain a part of Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical and follow the medical protocols set forth by them.

The township would have been responsible for vehicle insurance and tags in the agreement. The township trustee or a representative would have been on a service oversight board.

Eudora Township Board of Trustees Treasurer Jim Gabriel said the board had issues with the role the township would play in the interlocal agreement

"We wanted to support our members," Gabriel said.

Eudora Emergency Medical Service member and Eudora Township firefighter Dustin McAfee described the agreement as "bullying" the township.

A more acceptable solution to the issue would be effectively splitting the Eudora Emergency Medical Service between the city and township fire departments, McAfee said.

"I think the downside anymore in Eudora is that we're such a growing community inside and outside the city limits, it's one of those deals where it's best suited to not have three entities," McAfee said.

Eudora Township Fire Department Chief Barry Larson said he was confident township EMS workers could handle the job.

"Eudora Township needs to run their own jurisdiction," Larson said.

Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug said he had no indication the township board wanted to enter into such an agreement.

"If they were interested, they would have to demonstrate to us that they have the capacity to and have the personnel with the certification and the expertise needed to do that job, and I don't know that they have that," Weinaug said.

The township's withdrawal spurred the Eudora City Council to schedule a meeting to negotiate a two-party agreement with the county. The council invited township representatives to attend the meeting to give their views.

The council agreed to set a tentative meeting for 6 p.m. Monday at Eudora City Hall, 4 East Seventh St.

"Hopefully, we can get it worked out with them. If not, we'll move on how we have to," councilman Bill Whitten said.

If the city enters into a new interlocal agreement with the county, all emergency calls dispatched to the township would be sent from the city, Weinaug said.

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