EMS decision stands

Steele's motion to revisit $47,000 position fails

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Moffat County Commissioner Darryl Steele said Friday that he agreed with the rest of the commission that the goal of the county should be to provide the best possible emergency medical service coverage for Moffat County.

But that's about the only aspect of the ongoing EMS issue on which the commissioners could agree.

For an hour and a half Friday, the commissioners, and about 15 residents, debated the recent appointment of Karen Burley as EMS coordinator for western Moffat County.

At the end of the lengthy discussion, Steele made a motion to reconsider the Jan. 13 decision to hire a full-time coordinator for Maybell, and bring the Moffat County EMS Council and Maybell Ambulance service to the table to discuss the issue.

But Steele was the only person to vote in favor of his motion, with Hampton and Raftopoulos voting no.

Earlier in the meeting Steele said he did not think enough input had been gathered in the decision to hire the position for Maybell.

But the other two commissioners said that a meeting was held with the Maybell volunteer ambulance at which all members were present, and said they asked that the position be put in place.

But Steele argued that all ambulance members were not invited.

"I think this is a little premature," Steele said of hiring for the position. "Let's not have all of this 'he said, she said' and get all the players in the room to say we need this. I want this to be a meeting of the Maybell community and I want the community to agree that we need this."

Steele presented five options that he thought could be investigated to improve Maybell Ambulance Service, which his fellow commissioner, Raftopoulos wrote on an oversized pad displayed in the conference room.

Options listed by Steele included:

  • The action already take to hire Karen Burley to serve as EMS coordinator for Maybell.
  • Leaving the service like it was before.
  • Work with sheriff's department and hospital, which will provide EMTs to assist in western Moffat County coverage.
  • Put the Maybell ambulance service under the full-time supervision of The Memorial Hospital.
  • Staff the Maybell ambulance service with off-duty EMTs when Maybell volunteers cannot cover the area.

Steele said his fifth option, which he said was his favorite, would save the county $12,000, as compared to the decision to hire an EMS coordinator.

Costs on each proposal were debated by those in favor and against the different options.

But Raftopoulos said it was evident that every option carried a price tag, and said she was confident that the commission had made the correct decision in hiring the position.

"What I find encouraging is all of these options cost money," she said. "I do think that this decision was not made lightly. It was made with the safety and health of all citizens of Moffat County in mind."

She then offered words of support for Burley.

"You have a person with a passion who has volunteered for 19 years that will do the best job she can to pull that community together on this," she said. "We have hired the right person for the job and this person is going to get the job done."

Hampton agreed with Raftopoulos and said a concrete dollar figure is in place for the decision that has been made.

The EMS coordinator will get paid $35,000 plus benefits, which will cost taxpayers approximately $47,000, officials said Friday.

"The costs are unknown for the proposals we have been shown," Hampton said. "The cost of our proposal is known. I'm not going to pull a job out from somebody."

Friday's discussion was a result of an ongoing dispute between Steele and his two colleagues, Raftopoulos and Hampton.

The day he was sworn into office, Jan. 14, Steele made a motion to overturn the hiring of Burley, which was done the day before he was sworn into office.

Commissioners Raftopoulos and Hampton did not second Steele's motion, or 10 other motions he put forth that day.

But the commissioners agreed to revisit each of Steele's 11 proposals.

At Tuesday's Moffat County commissioner meeting, which begins at 9:30 a.m., the commissioners are scheduled to discuss four more of the issues brought up by Steele Jan. 14, including:

  • Changes in the Moffat County Human Resources department.
  • How to pursue filling the public works director position, which was recently left vacant with the resignation of Rich Anderson.
  • Discussions on general cost savings measures.
  • County employee salaries.

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or jnichols@craigdailypress.com.

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