Organizational policies for the ambulance service were approved by the Manawa Rural Fire and Ambulance Board at its Jan. 21 meeting.
The policies were approved as presented by former Ambulance Director Dan Williams at the board’s December meeting.
Extensive changes proposed by members of the Manawa Ambulance Service were not included in the approved document. These proposed changes were presented at the Jan. 21 meeting by EMS Assistant Director Krystal Draeger.
The main reason for not allowing the changes was to get the new operating procedures approved as soon as possible. The board did not want to continue with the previous policies.
The board members also felt they needed more time to consider the proposed changes.
Some of the board members felt the changes should have been presented earlier.
“If they had problems with (the policies) before Dan left, why didn’t they talk to him about it?” said board member Marlyn Ebert.
There were also some disagreements with the proposed rewording and elimination of entire sections of the original document.
Although the board members agreed that some of the wording needed to be changed for clarification, they did not agree with omitting the entire section pertaining to “fitness for duty.”
“I am not comfortable with an entire section being struck out,” said Board Chair Mary Eck.
Ebert agreed, saying, “The policy statement is just too vague to stand by itself.”
Another area of contention was the proposal to not require ambulance personnel to attend meetings.
“If you take out the requirement to attend meetings, why have meetings?” Eck asked.
Board secretary Jackie Beyer suggested that the organizational policies be approved for a probationary period.
The board agreed to revisit and enhance the policy at its March meeting.
“That is recognizing that they have issues with the policy,” Eck said. “It gives time to address those issues and changes.”
In other action, the board approved a resolution to resolve financial inequalities between the fire and ambulance departments.
The resolution stated that the Manawa Rural Fire and Ambulance Board will: “Consider all past financial practices in the past, ergo any perceived debts between departments be zeroed out, or rendered balanced.”
The resolution included the following:
“In an effort to move forward, in a positive attitude, and with equal respect to each department and their respective leaders;
“And, in recognizing the fact that past errors in judgment were the cause of perceived financial inequalities …”
The board noted that signed municipal agreements are still needed for the town of Royalton (five years) and the town of St. Lawrence (one year).
Monthly hour caps for paid personnel were discussed.
It was noted that the EMS director, assistant director and supply officer had extra work to do in January. This work included moving the ambulance office, re-organizing the supply closet and inputting information into the computer system.
“All of that takes time,” Eck said. “Perhaps it would be in the board’s best interest to revisit the caps in March.”
The board agreed to allow the directors a little “wiggle room” for now.
A motion was approved to re-evaluate the monthly caps at the March meeting.
A request for a cell phone was denied for EMS Director Cathi Wegener.
“Wasn’t there a whole meeting last summer about the cell phones?” asked Fire Chief Rob Rosenau. “So (as a result), there is no cell phone for the ambulance director or the fire chief.”
It was noted that currently there are four cell phones for the ambulance service and the Manawa Rural Fire Department. Two of the phones are in ambulances, one is in a fire truck, and the other is on the wall in the fire station.
The EMS representatives at the meeting said that the cell phones are needed in the ambulances.
The board agreed to leave the cell phones where they are for now, and to do an inventory to be presented at the February meeting.
In other business, the board:
• Appointed Al Moede, representative of the town of Little Wolf, as the board member secretary-treasurer.
• Approved job descriptions for EMS director, EMS supply officer and EMS personnel.
• Agreed to move $28,797 from the MRFD 2013 general fund to the truck replacement money market account.