December 24, 2001

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Magistrate Report
Postalwait Writes On
1.4M Secret CDC Financials
Special CCC
The Last Supper
Town Sewer Update
Special CCC #2
$36.00 Left @ CCCEAA

12/07/01: Belt - Patrick Stephen Perdue, wanton endangerment, arrested, ROB; 12/1701: Probable cause found, bound to grand jury.
12/19/01: Delk - Marina Lanham, possession, intent to deliver controlled substance, arrested, ROB, hearing set.
12/24/01: Bailey - Jonathan D. Cook, aggravated assault, non-aggravated robbery, arrested, ROB.
12/07/01: Belt - Patrick Stephen Perdue, domestic assault, arrested, ROB; Hearing continued by defendant to ???.
12/07/01: Belt - Patrick Stephen Perdue, DWR, DUIA, arrested, ROB; Hearing continued by defendant to ???.
12/07/01: Delk - Oran James Hickman, DUI, arrested, ROB, trial set.
12/07/01: Delk - Oran James Hickman, leaving scene (property damage), ROB, trial set.
12/07/01: Delk - Oran James Hickman, DWR, DUIA, ROB, trial set.
12/07/01: Ellison - Randy W. Thompson domestic battery x 3, arrested, ROB, trial set.
12/11/01: Sizemore’s IGA - Alicia Schindler, WC, warrant issued.
12/11/01: Clay Supermarket - Eugenia M. Cook, WC, warrant issued.
12/11/01: Clay Supermarket - Robert Boggs, WC, warrant issued.
12/11/01: P.J. Mooney - Jeremiah Lee Boggs, possession of marijuana, ROB, to appear 1/14/02.
12/14/01: Delk - Lisa L. Smith, DUI, arrested, ROB.
12/14/01: Delk - Lisa L. Smith, driving on suspended/revoked license, arrested, ROB.
12/17/01: Guthrie - Jo-Ann ??? (of Procious, WV), battery, warrant issued.
12/17/01: Guthrie - Andy Nelson Moore, petty larceny, warrant issued.
12/17/01: Guthrie - Gina Blankenship, destruction of property, warrant issued.
12/17/01: Guthrie - Gina Blankenship, battery, warrant issued.
12/17/01: Guthrie - Christina Bishop, destruction of property, warrant issued.
12/17/01: Guthrie - Christina Bishop, battery, warrant issued.
12/17/01: Guthrie - Andy Nelson Moore, transfer of stolen property, warrant issued.
12/17/01: Foreman - Gary A. A’Dell, possession of marijuana, ROB, to appear 1/22/02.
12/18/01: Foreman - Carl A. Neal, left of center, arrested, ROB.
12/18/01: Foreman - Carl A. Neal, DUI (second offense), ROB.
12/18/01: Larry D. Legg - Anita Harold Summers, failure to cause child to attend school, summons issued.
12/18/01: Barbara Harmon-Schamberger - Marina Lanham, domestic battery, arrested, ROB.
12/19/01: Bailey - Dewey K. Morris, possession of a controlled substance, arrested, ROB.
12/19/01: Delk - Marina Lanham, obstructing an officer, arrested, ROB.
12/19/01: Slack - Harold (Benji) Stewart, trespassing, summons sent.
12/19/01: Larry D. Legg - Teresa Bird, failure to sent child to school, summons sent.
12/24/01: Bailey - Jonathan D. Cook, receiving/transferring stolen property, arrested, ROB.
12/22/01: Foreman - Danny L. Sparks, DUI (second offense), arrested, ROB.
12/22/01: Foreman - Danny L. Sparks, DWR, DUIA, ROB.
12/11/01: Clay County Bank - Amanda Jane Wyant, money due.
12/19/01: Mardell Nevans - Angela Bartsch and Phillip Bartsch, wrongful occupation.
12/20/01: Clay County Bank - Steven W. DeBoard, money due.
12/20/01: Clay County Bank - Phillip G. Brown, money due.
12/26/01: Clay County Bank - Dara R. Stephenson, money due.
12/26/01: Clay County Bank - Michael G. O’Dell, money due.
Worthless Checks:
12/11/01: Larry’s Grocery - Deana B. Hudnall, $13.97, notice issued (paid 12/19/01).
12/12/01: IGA - Stacy James, $35.30, notice issued.
Traffic Citations:
11/10/01: Sheriff’s Dept. - James E. Smith, speeding.
11/19/01: DNR - Eli B. Capps, illegal burning; Brandy W. Nicholas, loaded gun on vehicle, hunting from a motor vehicle.
11/20/01: DNR - Terry W. Johnson, illegal burning.
11/22/01: Name Missing, no info provided; State Police - Kwok Yuen Ng, speeding; Helen L. Diaz, driving on suspended/revoked license, defective equipment; Misty Evans, speeding.
11/30/01: State Police - Melissa Cummings, selling alcoholic beverage to minor.
12/01/01: Sheriff’s Dept. - Eric Alan Lang, speeding; St Clair Williams, speeding.
12/03/01: State Police - Jeremiah Lee Boggs, possession of marijuana (less than 15 grams).
12/04/01: State Police - Lisa Rose Woods, selling beer to minor.
12/08/01: Sheriff’s Dept. - driving suspended, registration violations.
12/13/01: Sheriff’s Dept. - Thomas F. Simmons, registration violations, motor vehicle inspection.
12/14/01: State Police - Gary O’Dell, possession of marijuana (less than 15 grams); Calvin Bryant, reckless driving, seat belt violation, registration violations; Sheriff’s Dept. - Lisa L. Smith, driving under the influence, driving on suspended/revoked license.
12/15/01: State Police - Jason Doss, motor vehicle inspection, seat belt violation.
12/18/01: State Police - Carl A. Neal, left of center, driving under the influence (second offense).
12/20/01: State Police - Jennifer Bodkins, following too closely, no proof of insurance.


     When was the last time you stood up for something in the county? When was the last time you participated at a public meeting? Procious WV’s Melissa Postelwait did at the Dec. 11 County Commission meeting. Postelwaite and many of her Pumpkin Ridge neighbors have been left out of all future water line extension plans . During original water line extensions nearly 20 years ago, Postelwait and others have publicly stated that grant dollars that would have extended lines in their area of the county was diverted to more politically correct neighborhoods.
     Since coming forth at that December meeting, Ms Postelwait has been pursuing a letter writing campaign in another attempt to get the much needed water.
Her first communiqué went to Governor Bob Wise. Excerpts include:
     Governor Bob Wise 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E Charleston, WV 25305: Dear Friend, I am writing you this letter in regards to our situation here in Procious, WV located in Clay County. More specific about our little community of Pumpkin Ridge Road. You see, for years we have tried to get Procious Water District to supply us with city water, and for years all we have heard is no. Now that there is a moratorium in place until Clay Water Plant is built (Which they are now saying is an additional two years) it is harder than ever. While they have provided relief from the moratorium for certain citizens of Clay County, they will not do the same for us. Most of the houses on this ridge are supplied from well water, which you may know generally always runs dry in the summer. As for the others, they have purchased water holding tanks to supply their water, and that also in very inconvenient in the sense that they have to pay to get the water, and not to mention the gas back and forth to haul it, the wear and tear on the vehicles, and the inconvenience of doing this at least once a week. As you may be aware from my previous letter, Former Governor Arch Moore gave us a grant to cover the cost of putting water out here. And that grant was used by our county officials for another community. That was not fair to us. Governor Wise, we desperately need your help. Most of us are hard working citizen's with small children that need and deserve good water. We are willing to help in any way possible to improve this community. The men in our community even offered to dig the lines and lay the pipes for the water if the water plant would agree to give us water, but they wouldn't do that either. Also, we have another concern. The many communities around us have recently received paved roads. While we suffer with potholes so big that our cars literally could get lost in them. This is also inconvenient for us because of the wear and tear it puts on our vehicles. While I said we are hard working, none of us out here are wealthy enough to keep up with the damage that is done to our vehicles on a daily basis. We have contacted the State Department of Highways about this situation numerous times, and each time we are told that there is not enough funding to do the road. Well, if that were so, why are the roads around us getting pavement? While we are stuck with dirt, a little bit of gravel, and a really bad patch attempt out here. So that is our concerns. Anything you can do to help would graciously be appreciated. Thank you in advance for any help you may provide.
Another such letter went to the WV Public Service Commission . Excerpts from that correspondence include
      December 19, 2001 Chairman James D. Williams 201 Brooks Street Charleston, WV 25301: Chairman Williams, I recently received a letter from Governor Bob Wise stating that he forwarded my letters concerning our water situation on to you. Let me start by introducing myself, my name is Melissa Postelwait and I live on Pumpkin Ridge Road located in Procious, WV. Our problem is that we cannot get city water. I know that presently there is a moratorium in effect, but I also know that it is due to be lifted soon. Our problem started long before the moratorium was in effect though, we have tried for years to get water out here. As a matter of fact when Arch Moore was Governor he gave us a grant to put water out here, but our county officials used it to put water elsewhere in the county. Some of us in the community have wells, but they go dry all the time, and the water is too nasty to drink. As for the rest of us, we have bought water storage tanks, and we haul water every week. Which you can imagine is not only very expensive (gas, water price, vehicle maintenance) it is very time consuming. I have a two year old son, and most of the other families in our community have small children which need good water. I don't know if you are a parent, I will assume you are, would you not want good drinking and cooking water for your child? Would you not want to worry about running out of water? So my question for you is, can you help? I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you in advance for any assistance you may be able to provide.
To date, according to Ms Postelwait, engineers have been checking around as well as folks from the WV PSC. During the December County Commission meeting, Commissioners acknowledged the need in the area and asked John Romano from the WV Infrastructure Council to seek Federal Grant dollar funding for the project. Will Postelwait and company be successful in their attempts to get ‘city water’? One thing is for sure, without the letters, attendance at public meetings, and speaking out on the needs, they have no chance for improvements. To contact Melissa Postelwait: Melissa Postelwait P.O. Box 182 Procious, WV 25164 304-587-4836 or email her at Are you thirsty? Do you need water service? Isn’t it time for you to stand up?


     The troubles that the Ambulance Authority has gotten them selves into didn’t start yesterday. Six years ago when they wanted the citizens of the county to approve E-911, Commissioners R T Sizemore, James Samms from Clay County, and Jinks Hinkle from Nicholas went around the county having meetings trying to sell the idea of a central dispatch center to be located in Nicholas County. We were to give them $100,000 and $2.00 on each phone in the county. Listening to the scanner you hear very little use by Clay County. I think that if we had our own center and the money was going to Clay County, it would go a long way to help the problem of funds. Roane County has their own center, and they have higher unemployment than Clay. Emergency Services Director Paige Willis has a lot of money in the bank for emergencies. Does this not construe an emergency? I don’t think that anyone is really trying, because the Commission wants the Ambulance Authority to fail.


     While the Al-Quida is one of the most secretive groups on the international scene, locally, Clay Development Corporation (CDC), operates in a similar locked door mode. Maybe there are 1,041,315 reasons to stay under the radar.
     Attempts to gain financial information of the Main Street, Clay non-profit organization have been rebuffed on a regular basis this year. Five months ago the newspaper asked to see what the employees earned. That request was denied with the group commenting that they do not have to comply with any such request. According to CDC secretary Janet Fitzwater during a Board meeting late this summer, CDC does not have to comply with WV Open Meetings Laws. Open Meetings Law (Sunshine Laws) require non profits to disclose all such financial information.
     Just two months back, a Freedom of Information Act request for salary information was denied. This time CDC cited a letter from the WV Attorney General
s office which stated if less than half of their income was from in kind donations, the FOIA process does not apply to them.
    Secrecy is nothing new for the 30 year old Clay Development although a total black out is new for this calendar year. In 1999, a Freedom of Information Act request for salaries was responded to in a legal manner and compensation levels from W-2 forms were published at that time. Also, for a brief period in 1999, monthly financial disclosures were made to the Board of Directors and the public in general. That practice ended September 16, 1999 when a hastily called Special General Membership meeting was called and the sitting Board of Directors and the agencies represented by some of the boardsters, were ousted. That special meeting was deemed very controversial since many of those voting for the coup were employees and family members of CDC employees. Some of those voting that day included: Wanda Keener, Director Betty Stalnaker, Pamela Parsons, Faye Asbury, Misty Taylor, Madeline Ramsey, Tara Taylor, A E Ferrebee, Shirley Marling, Angie King, and Melissa R Mays.
So why be so secretive? In some cases, being secretive can net many benefits. If a community feels a social service group is in need of additional funding, locals will
help out as they say. Ever buy a hot dog from Clay Development?
     Not all information can be kept under wraps. Such is the case with the following information which was located on IRS 990 forms. 990 forms are available for public inspection both at the WV Secretary of State
s office and are supposed to be available to the public at the groups Main Street building. Based on such information and for the 2000 calendar year, note the Revenue and Expenses:
      Wow! Even with an income of $1.4 million, the group lost $21,159 last year. So how does that compare with the prior year
s performance? From similar IRS 990 forms for the calendar year 1998, the group netted just $716,788.00. For that same period administrative costs were just $88,623.00, program service costs were just $606,460.00. CDC ended that year in the black with a gain of $21,705.00.

From the IRS comes this:
     The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization
s total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities or it cannot long survive, but the types of assets and liabilities also must be considered. For instance, an organizations current assets should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities. Otherwise, the organization may face insolvency problems.....
The CDC was recognized as a non profit organization by the IRS in 1965 with the mission statement being: the organization administers Federal and State financial assistance benifitting the elderly and low income individuals of Clay County West Virginia.
So do you need to go out and buy more hot dogs to keep the agency afloat? More recently, in March of this year, Clay Development Corp listed the following: February ending balance $142,985.49; March Vendor Checks total $30,083.91; March payroll check total $60,058.18; March Deposits $120,272.56 bringing the March ending balance to $156,832.55. NOTE: Don
t tell anyone about these figures!!! Since going private earlier this year, such financial disclosures are forbidden.


     Commissioner Matthew Bragg called a Special Commission meeting Dec 19 at 10am. “Coats and Ties
@ from Charleston were up front. Lots of ambulance workers packed into the pews.
Bragg said that there would be no mud slinging nor outbursts. Bragg,
@ The Ambulance Service is in pretty bad shape now..... we have to do something, I hoped it would get better, It hasn=t.@ Commissioner Butcher,@ our goal is to see what it takes to keep the service.@
     WV Emergency Medical Services CEO Denny Nurkiewicz explained that his organization inspected, certified, licensed and set standards for ambulance services through out the state. Nurkiewicz explained that last Friday he talked with the County Commission and two days earlier, his organization did some info gathering. He said he was here to discuss some concerns and keep the service up to state standards. After asking some questions of his own, Commissioner Sams commented that there were not only financial issues here,
@We have other problems, we almost had our charter pulled.@ Nurkiewicz explained that the Regional Medical Director had expressed serious concerns on the level of care in Clay County.
      Get this readers, CEO Nurkiewicz for the first time, explained that an oversight committee was going to meet Dec 20 and decide what to do about the serious quality of care issues before them, and YES, they could shut down the Clay County Ambulance Service.
      Nurkiewicz suggested that the CCC and the CCEAA request his agency to come in and do a full blown investigation. He was not willing to make major recommendations based on a quicky visit and without hard facts. And then this from Mr N.,
@ The state is prepared to react if you take action today...... Keep a benevolent eye on the Authority.... and things are going to have to be cut.@ As to ambulance finances, Sams,@ It=s done run out of money...It=s time to do something....Maybe we=ll have to lock the door??@ Concurring with the Sams assessment, Mr N replied: if there is no money and no more loans, shut down.
Now down to brass tacks, again from Mr N,
@how close are you to not being able to meet payroll? What is the margin? What is the situation?@ Member Arlie Fulks reminded all that there has been a reimbursement cap put on invoices at the Federal government and that was what was killing the Clay County unit. Nurkiewicz made it real clear, real quick, don=t expect increased reimbursements any time in the near future!
      And then And then the first mention of renewing the mandatory $25.00 ambulance fee and this time, maybe increasing it higher. You could have seen the Commissioners shrink in their seats!! Back away back away Dive Dive Dive!! Bragg, staying clear of the issue,
@ they had close to $400,000 when I came... their income was $50,000 per month and they spent $58,000. Something has to be done, it doesn=t take a rocket scientist!@
      Questions to Mr. N were intense. What should this cost? What should that cost? What about dispatchers?...
And then the bomb shell. The Ambulance Authority has just $18,122.00 left to their name and a $8,900 payroll is due Dec 24. Nurkiewicz ciphered as questions flew around the room. Why are we still doing freebie runs to Laurel Nursing? Who
=s duty is it to respond to certain calls? Why make the runs if you know you are not going to be paid? Finally, N. @Jan 15th is the crisis date.@ The date the money will be all gone! N strongly recommended that major cuts be made to stretch out the Apanic date@ and allow the state to investigate the problems in the county. Denny Nurkiewicz,@ You are two weeks away..the state cannot respond to these kind of numbers quick enough.@ N asked all to watch the cash flow and if they have to shut down, give him a call so the State can make arrangements ahead of time. Hmmmm Arrangements? Would that be a Court order forcing the County Commission to supply enough money to keep the doors open a while longer or would that be asking another ambulance service to come in and set up shop? As for another county operating in Clay, Sams,@ We don=t want that!... Sams,@This is serious!@
      Marie Haynes went thru a list of cuts made recently at the Ambulance Service. Denny countered that you are now paying about the same as McDonalds,
@ I don=t want a hamburger turner..@
      Sams recommended closing Big Otter and Lizemore Stations, Denny agreed with him. Butcher,
@ let=s try it with volunteers.@ Sams, A I=d love to leave them but the money is just not there!@ Again Denny agreed with Sams.
      Readers, Denny Nurkiewicz did not order the CCC to do anything BUT let
=s make it clear, if the CCC and the CCEAA did NOT agree with all his recommendations, the ambulance service would have been shut down that minute!
      Mr N recommended that immediate cost cutting moves be implemented TODAY and for the CCEAA to make the $18000 last for four weeks,
@ If there is no money, no ambulance service.@ Sams,@ We=re in trouble!@ N said to stay within a $4500 per week budget no matter what!
The employee screw up, quality of care issue was revisited. N said depending on the findings of the investigation, the state could mandate additional training, restrict the operation of the Clay unit, or shut the place down.
Now back on saving money, Mr N urged the group to cut costs and structure the operation on what money is available; if there isn
=t money to operate 24 hours per day, do something different, and if you start trying to operate a service with volunteers for free,@ you are never going to have a service..@
Discussion on doing away with the dispatchers. Discussion on doing away with the old $25.00 fee. Discussion on the collection agency not having too much luck so far ($26.00).
      Motion made and passed for the State to come in and investigate the local operation. As for the county getting the long time coming Budget Digest $20,000.00 grant, Cookie Johnson,
@Mark King refused to sign it.@ Translation: Big boy won=t let the money be used for a purpose other than originally intended
Motion made and passed to seat Sheriff Fields and Jimmy Sams on the CCEAA.


     Up to now, the state boys have come in and said for Clay county to straighten up or the Ambulance Service will be shut down or taken over by another agency. The County Commission has said they will work with the state team any way they can. Two new people have been added to the Ambulance Authority. They are Sheriff Fields and Commissioner Sams. The Clay Ambulance Authority has called another Special meeting Dec 21 6pm. Because of the urgency of the matters before them, the meeting was called on the same night as the annual Christmas Dinner. When Fran King saw the food, she commented, @Is this the last supper?@
     CCEAA Chair Ore announced that the Tech Assistance Team (Charleston) looking into the quality of Care issues with Clay County Ambulance service had made some initial findings and recommendations. Mr Nurkiewicz
=s email included: Dr Seidler has three groups of issues 1) he was not informed and has not approved of the hiring of the current Squad Medical Director; 2) he is concerned with a group of operational issues like the squad QA program, training, qualifications of staff, etc 3) he has issues with individual squad members .
     In each of the three concerns, the county has agreed to whatever is recommended to them to do to correct the situation. It appears now, that Clay
=s operation may get a butt chewing, but will not be shut down!
      Also during the Dec 21 meeting agenda: Local Dispatchers! New member Harald Fields,
@ You can=t answer to two masters...If we do it properly, we can operate with 911 only....they are set up to handle our every need..@ Fields was in favor of stopping all local dispatching and even in favor of removing the local radios installed at the office. Big discussion ensued on how the world would end if ambulances used just the E 911 system located in Nicholas County. After 15minutes of discussion Fields appeared to have about enough with,@ It appears to me we are about ready to shut down.. You are going to hate me before I leave here..@ All were quiet .. quiet. It seemed Field=s words were sinking in.... WRONG!!!!!!! Again more on how the world of ambulances revolves around keeping people in this county to do what is already paid for in Nicholas County. Sheriff,@ I am new here. We table this too damn long! Establish a time line.. Take the bull by the horns!!!@ Fran,@ there are no dollars to wait... these numbers don=t look good..@ Jimmy Sams,@ 911 will do the transports calls.@
      Finally, motion made and passed to take action on doing away with the dispatchers Jan 10, 2002. Sams,
@ do we have the money to continue the dispatchers [until Jan 10]?... The county is in bad shape... we don=t have the funds to pull the Ambulance Service out! We got to go with the cuts we=ve made!!= Arlie Fulks,@ We=ve kicked this around for three or four months, It=s going to drag us under!@
      Motion made and passed to lay off 13 part time workers. Big argument over how the service cannot continue without part time workers. As for resulting labor disputes when using part timers with call out rights, Fields,
@ I don=t care if you have preachers, they will sue you!!@ Many employees and all at once, AWHAT ABOUT RESPONSE TIMES??@ Ore stopped the discussion and a break was called.
After pee break, Ms King made an announcement that yet another past due bill had just been found and this one was a biggy! $6000.00 to be exact.
Motion made and passed to have only Fran King or Marie Haynes ONLY pick up the mail [checks] each day. As to what happened to some invoices prior to Nov 1 of this year, Ore,
@ We probably have some things missing.@
Motion made and passed to close Big Otter and Lizemores Station unless an ALL VOLUNTEER crew mans them.
Discussion on instituting a new county wide ambulance fee to subsidize the operation. No decision made. Meeting adjourned at 8pm. AW


      If you live in the Town of Clay, here=s some welcome news. If you are an elected official in the Town, here=s another headache.
      For over six months, Clay Town Council has tried to get a whopping big sewer rate increase on the books. It hasn
=t happened yet. For those that pay to poop in Clayberry, that=s the good news. For leaders, trying to pay for the sewer plant has become impossible. During the beginning of this year, the Town was several months behind in paying the debt service for the less than three year old plant. After receiving some much needed grant money, the Town was able to pull out of the negative balances. Now with the state of the art, technically advanced poop factory once again operating in the red, the payments are again behind.
      Last summer Council asked for a rate increase. With no public opposition to the increase, the process appeared headed for smooth sailing and quick passage. That didn
=t happen. Just as the Town was ready to increase rates as high as 260%, a snag in the paperwork stopped them dead in their tracks. After more votes and public hearings, again Council was back on track. Wrong! A brief mention was made during the last Council meeting, that something was missing in the second round of paperwork.
       As of Dec 27, and as this month
=s sewer bills were being churned out by the computer, the WV Public Service Commission has not issued the go ahead on adding the increase on the current bills. Before that can happen, it appears that Council will have to resubmit for the third time all or part of the paperwork to the PSC!
       Long time residents remember just a few years back when they and Town leaders were told a rosy tail of how sewer rate increases would not be needed to pay off the debt on the new log factory and additionally, there would be enough revenue to operate the facility! We know better now! AW


     On Dec 20, less than 24 hours after the first Special County Commission meeting, another one was called to order. Here the County Commission heard from Ambulance Authority (CCEAA) Chair Bob Ore who mapped out the various cuts being made which included: Close Lizemore and Big Otter Stations; use volunteers only for dispatching; the central Clay station will remain open 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. Dispatching will be done away with and the County will use the already paid for Nicholas County 911 number.
      As for the seriousness of the situation, Commissioner Sams,
@ They were ready to shut our doors!!@ And now for the quote of the week for sure from Sams,@ Maybe there was dollars misspent; AMaybe we kept our eyes shut too long, Shame on us!@ Most agreed that when a previous CCEAA voted to pay employees lots of overtime on 24 hours shifts, the doom was not far behind. Defending himself, Commissioned Butcher,@ we Were told, it would work!!!@ Lots of talk on how response times will suffer with all the cutbacks planned.
Thirty five minutes after opening, and with the need to cut back identified, the group adjourned AW

$36.00 LEFT @ CCEAA

     And finally, Dec 27, 6pm, with 20 plus in the peanut gallery...all were quiet. New member Sheriff Fields had long frown lines as he read over the most recent financial statements being handed out. The employees seemed to be sensing the gravity of the situation. From the Charleston gang , the ones doing the investigation, BJ Willis was present.
Ore cautioned all in attendance that they must be recognized by the Chair before speaking.
     The first big bomb shell. It was announced that Larry Cole and Marie Haynes met with reps from Laurel Nursing in an attempt to get Laurel to enter into a written agreement to pay for non emergency ambulance runs. After less than 17 minutes of discussion with Laurel, management told the CCEAA, no deal, they will not sign any agreement! Laurel was told they will be charged full price for such runs in the future. Still no deal! Cole mentioned that Laurel has a poor payment history. As for suing Laurel for future runs if they don’t pay in a timely manner, Fields,” I don’t mind serving them papers a bit.” CCEAA will begin demanding purchase orders for future non emergency transports. Here’s one readers, Larry Cole mentioned that Laurel Nursing is already being reimbursed for Medicare runs and they are just not forwarding the money to the CCEAA!!
     Even after deciding on Dec 21 to cut out part time workers, the battle to keep all of them flared up yet again. Director Johnson showed the CCEAA that without all the part timers, even the Clay Station could not be manned 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. Other employees chimed in. Ore seemed to be in favor of keeping those employees now and reversing the earlier decision. Fields had other ideas,” IF WE DON’T CUT EXPENSES. YOU ARE OUT OF BUSINESS THE 1OTH!” Those in attendance were not getting the picture. Even after meeting after meeting, the move was still alive to keep everybody on board. Gene King,”After Jan 15th, who’s going to pay them??” Fran, “ I am trying to figure that one out.” Johnson and others tried again, without the part timers and the 7 remaining full time employees, no around the clock station in the county would be possible. Ore,”this is critical for the County!”
     From out of the back came words of wisdom from BJ Willis. Willis suggested that there are other options than what had been mentioned. Willis asked for a budget freeze and commented,” You’re in an Emergency State now!” Willis offered: park one or two ambulances, start using purchase orders now, use existing mutual aid agreements with surrounding counties. Fran calculated that it costs $23.00 per hour to stay open and she projected the there will be a ZERO balance by Jan 10, 2002. AND AND AND Clerk Judy Moore called today and found and old past due bill, a broad base tax bill amounting to $6000.00!!!!!!!!!!!!
       Larry Cole did a little ciphering and figured out that local dispatching costs close to $50,000.00 per year with paid workers. Director Johnson informed the Board that despite being told to use volunteers only during the day time, today and Friday, a paid staff will be on duty.
       More More on keeping all the part timers on the schedule. Discussion on the cost to stock all the trucks and how supplies are now running low on the vehicles. Motion by Sams to take two vehicles off the road and bring all ambulances back to the main station in Clay. More warmed up debate
       As to the CCEAA making their Jan 5th bank loan? Fran King mumbled something and then commented that IF they get in the $7000.00 due them from the Federal Government, the can make payroll, pay some benefits and make the loan payment. Ms King,” we’ll have $36.00 left.”
      After hearing this , motion made and passed again to use only 4 part timers and man the Clay Station only 24 hours a day. Sub Stations are Shut Down!
       Ore asked that further employee benefit cuts be made to vacation time. The employees all together it sounded like,”THAT’S NOT FAIR!!!!!!”
Readers do we still have an ambulance service? Barely, at best.
      Does the Ambulance Authority now realize they have to cut more employees off the payroll to survive? NO!
Do the employees know that Jan 10th may be the last day, if not before, there is an ambulance service in the county? No!
Are costly local dispatchers still on the job? YES!
       Has the Ambulance Authority come to the conclusion that other providers will have to be called into the county to cover the needs of our population? No!
      Can the State Emergency Medical Services group shut us down now? Yes!
      Are emergency runs still down in the county resulting in low reimbursement in the near future? YES
      Are weekly costs still above the maximum of $4500.00 per week? Yes
       As you can see, the future for ambulance service looks pretty grim. One sad part is, it is nothing new. For years our leaders have known about this and only now with insolvency just a few days away, have they begun to react. Unfortunately. It may be too late for the citizen’s of the county. AW