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Fire and EMS task force hires consultant for $9,500 assignment

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By Tracy Harris

After discussing the status of Oldham County EMS for more than an hour, members of the Fire and EMS task force decided to drop the organization from its mission statement.

Judge-Executive David Voegele spoke to the task force at its March 28 meeting and said the OCEMS financial situation necessitated immediate action.

The task force had only focused on the fire departments since its first meeting in August but planned to incorporate OCEMS after collecting fire department data.

Tom Davisson, task force chair, told the group he hopes the task force’s recommendations about the county’s fire protection services can be finished in the next few months. 

There would likely be downtime after that before OCEMS could be evaluated, he said, with the possible changes coming to OCEMS management.

“I think probably the practical thing at this point is to amend your mission statement and just drop that out,” Voegele told the task force.

Voegele told members that he still thinks having six different fire departments is impractical.

In November, Voegele invited consultant Bill Kramer to attend task force meetings on a pro bono basis to see if his company’s services might be helpful.

Kramer and Associates is a fire service consulting firm that helps with consolidations, fire chief selections, service analysis, fire protection needs for new subdivisions and other issues.

Kramer has attended the task force’s last four meetings and presented a proposed contract at the February meeting.

According to the contract, Kramer’s company would take data compiled by the task force and use it to create an official report.

Kramer would include national comparisons, best practices and other information his company has collected elsewhere in the country.

“The report will represent the official findings of the task force, including detailed analysis generated by the consultant and accepted by the task force as relevant,” according to the proposal.

Kramer said he expects to have a first draft ready for the task force’s review next month. Members will then give input and have the opportunity to write minority opinions for inclusion.

The contract is for $9,500, which Voegele told task force members he would ask fiscal court to fund.

Task force members voted unanimously to approve the contract. 

Voegele sent magistrates an email about the contract ahead of Tuesday’s fiscal court meeting, as he was out of town and absent from the meeting.

In the email he said task force members are very enthusiastic about the partnership with Kramer.

Voegele said funding could come from unspent money budgeted for consultant’s fees.

District 8 Magistrate Michael Logsdon said the public should know fiscal court cannot tell the fire departments what changes to make and that the report is merely a fact-finding endeavor.

Magistrates voted 7-1 to accept the contract. Logsdon voted against it.

The next task force meeting is 6 p.m. April 24 in the fiscal court building.