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To the editor:
As employees of Oldham County EMS, we feel we’ve been unfairly portrayed recently by various media outlets as complaint-driven individuals who are resisting any change within OCEMS.
While it is true many employees at OCEMS are extremely worried about the ramifications of the multitude of changes being brought forth by the board of directors, these worries are not self-centered, but worries for the residents of Oldham County.
Beginning July 31, the board is implementing changes to the deployment and staffing of the ambulances.
•All ambulances to become Advanced Life Support ambulances. This means there will be one less set of hands to provide emergency care on every run.
Currently, a paramedic follows an ambulance to the scene and there are three people to provide care. This schedule eliminates two paramedic vehicles and two ambulances daily.
Eliminating any ambulances currently serving the people of Oldham County seems unwise.
Recently, there has been the need for more – not fewer – ambulances on the road.
While we understand the need for fiscal responsibility, we also understand the “duty to serve”.
We are sure the OCEMS board does not want to endanger the residents we serve.
• Two ambulances will be stationed in La Grange. While we agree that one ambulance should station in La Grange, moving two ambulances will leave insufficient coverage in the center of the county.
OCEMS employees were told by board members and by Oldham County Judge-Executive David Voegele and interim director Stuart Crawford that we should not fear for our jobs, however, scheduling changes mandated by the current plan will force many excellent employees to leave the service.
Our last point of concern is the fact that Voegele publicly chastised a group of EMS employees for a choice they made regarding their evening meal, seemingly without regard for the residents also dining in the same restaurant.
As we understand, the judge-executive has no power over the day-to-day operations of personnel within any entity of which he oversees. This fact is clear in the bylaws set forth for elected officials that safeguards are put into place to ensure that no elected official has the power to persuade, discipline, employ or terminate any employee under their oversight without the express consent of the entire seated board.
We hope these lines are not being blurred in any fashion. It is important that a county official avoid becoming a micro-manager of another taxing district.
If we are incorrect in our understanding, we would appreciate clarification.
We want to provide the absolute best care for Oldham County. We hope the board of directors will consider suggestions being made and use a more well thought-out approach to the reorganization of an emergency service that provides emergency care to 60,000 Oldham County residents.
Please join us at the OCEMS board meeting at 5:30 p.m. July 11 at the OCEMS building.
Oldham County EMS