Saturday, January 22, 2011

EMS


Not wholly unexpected. Unfortunately, I did see these events transpiring.
With the resignation of Robertson County EMS Director Jackie Wilkerson, County Mayor Howard Bradley moved quickly to maintain continuity by appointing an interim director.
I have intentionally refrained from taking time to write on this issue since I did not want to contribute to the proliferation of the rumors and innuendo that many of you have inquired with me on in the past several weeks. Channel 4 covered this story this week (there is a video). I will say, with what has been discussed and what continues to come forward in the fallout. Here is their coverage of the issue:
Last spring, Robertson County's EMS Director Jackie Wilkerson signed an agreement with Saint Thomas Hospital to send Robertson County ambulances to Davidson County High School football games. However, the mayor said that Wilkerson didn't get permission.
"It shouldn't have happened. First of all, he was not authorized to sign a contract," said Bradley.
"I thought that's why I was the director. I could make those decisions," said Wilkerson.
County leaders call what occurred a breach of safety because if there was a major emergency in Robertson County, some ambulances would have been farther away.
"He knew I was sending trucks to cover events," said Wilkerson.
"The mayor knew?" asked reporter Jonathan Martin.
"Yes sir," said Wilkerson.
Wilkerson and the assistant EMS director are resigning over this controversy. After 23 years on the job, Wilkerson said he's hurt that he's leaving over a decision that ultimately brought in money for the county.
"The fact that my ability was questioned after all these years. Yep, that hurts," said Wilkerson.
"It should have been made universally aware to not just the committee, but to the full commission. There was a lapse there that shouldn't have happened," said Bradley.
Wilkerson's final day on the job was Wednesday. An interim director is already in place.
Because of what happened, the county mayor says he's meeting with all department heads about getting approval before making certain decisions.
This week's CC Personnel & EMS committee meetings will be that much more important as we move forward.

What we will have to look at is what direction this vital service is headed.

What can we do to re-structure, to re-organize…to ensure that this vital service runs as fluidly as possible? That will be my concern in looking ahead.

Now is the opportunity to evaluate where we are with this service. A fresh look, and a fresh start in moving forward.

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