EMS debate continues

Steele's request to be commission liaison rejected

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Moffat County Commissioner Darryl Steele didn't want an EMS coordinator in Maybell.

But now that the position is in place, he said he wants to keep close tabs on what the person is doing.

So it seemed Monday when he made a motion to serve as the board liaison between the commission and the EMS coordinator.

Steele cited his experience in emergency medical services, and the fact that Maybell is his district as his reasons for wanting to serve as liaison.

Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos seconded Steele's motion to initiate discussion on the matter, but neither she nor Commissioner Les Hampton voted in favor of Steele's proposal.

"I understand that you would like to be a board liaison because it's your area, but I would like that person to report directly to the board," she said. "We need the person to come in front of the board in public meetings. I don't think it's appropriate to have a liaison."

Steele said he was not proposing that his serving as board liaison replace the need for direct reports to the commissioners in public meetings.

But Raftopoulos said she had other concerns.

"It's very clear you're against the position, which is fine," she said. "I think it's important the person reports to the board quarterly. Down the road, maybe it will be appropriate to have a liaison."

Hampton agreed with Raftopoulos, and said he didn't think having a liaison who was opposed to the hiring would be fair to the person in the position.

"You both have good points," Hampton said to his fellow commissioners. "The point that concerns me is a fairness issue to Karen Burley. To put her directly under someone opposed to the position I don't think gives her the opportunity to be successful."

Residents of western Moffat County asked the commission to create the position, and because of that, the position should report to the commissioners, Hampton said.

"The people of Maybell and Dinosaur spoke to us as a board and I think it's reasonable for her to report to the board for a year," Hampton said.

Steele said his opposition to the position is irrelevant to his interest in serving as board liaison.

"It upsets me that you guys don't think I'm objective enough to handle it," Steele said. "I want to do what's best for Moffat County. Both communities are in my district and I have a lot of experience as an EMS person."

In the midst of the discussion, Raftopoulos made a motion that a decision on the motion should be tabled until the commissioners had an opportunity to discuss the issue with the coordinator.

The motion died with no second.

Steele was the only commissioner to vote in favor of his own motion, according to the minutes of the meeting.

Monday's discussion came in the aftermath of heated debates in recent months on the creation of a western Moffat County EMS coordinator position.

The previous commission, who approved the hiring last week, said the position is necessary to maintain and improve ambulance services in western Moffat County.

Those opposed, such as Steele and Moffat County Sheriff Buddy Grinstead, said other more cost-effective alternatives should be investigated to improve EMS services in western Moffat County.

At its meeting Monday, the Board of County Commissioners:

o Listened to the plans of Athletic Director Jim Loughran and two high school football players to raise money for a new weight room at Moffat County High School. Director of Administrative Services Deb Murray agreed to investigate the potential for an energy impact grant that could be put toward the construction of a new weight room.

o Discussed trash collection at the Public Safety Center with Moffat County Sheriff Buddy Grinstead. The county currently has contracts signed with Waste Management and the city to pick up trash at the Public Safety Center. Grinstead agreed to read the contracts with County Attorney Kathleen Taylor, at which time she will come back to the commissioners with a recommendation on how to proceed with the issue.

o Presented Marilyn Bouldin, former director of community care at the Visiting Nurse Association, with a "token of appreciation" for her years of service in public health. Bouldin recently took the position to head the new nursing program at Colorado Northwestern Community College-Craig, which will be implemented this fall.

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

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