Committee considers changing ambulance contract
In Monday’s committee meeting, Public Safety Committee Chair Alvin Mason brought the county’s contract with Gold Cross to the forefront of the meeting by discussing changes that might need to be made to the current contract while emphasizing its importance.
“It was brought to my attention from a citizen’s group that there were some services that were lacking as it relates to the ambulance service,” Mason said. “I then decided to take a close look at the contract and conferred with Chief (Chris) James at the fire department and asked him to take a close look at the contract as well for any areas that could be improved to better service our community moving forward.”
According to the contract, a decision must be made by March 30, whether the commission will renew the contract with its current provider or make changes to the contract and put it up for bid.
Mason said it was not the intention of the committee to find another provider; however, he stressed that it was important that the proper actions are taken so that the citizens of Richmond County are provided the services that they are paying for.
“We are simply being good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars,” he said. “Not only are you going to see it with this contract, but this commission is going to be very, very thorough with looking up all contracts.”
Sammie Sias, the president of Sandridge Community Association and a member of the neighborhood alliance, stood before the commission to restate the concerns he had already voiced to Mason about the contract and its renewal.
“We as citizens of Richmond County pay our 911 taxes, pay our insurance and also pay for these (other) services,” Sias said. “We feel strongly that there should be some kind of oversight for this type of process and it should be the local government.”
Raising an earlier concern, Sias urged the group to ensure that the city remain a 911 service provider and suggested that the local government become more proactive in its involvement with these types of services.
Mason also brought Richmond County Fire Chief Chris James before the commission to state his concerns about the contract.
“As I was approached and asked the question if I thought this contract was adequate to provide oversight to assure that the citizens were getting the services that they were paying for, my direct answer was no,” James said. “I do not think this contract is adequate for us to have oversight over our EMS to assure that the citizens are getting what they are paying for.”
As an emergency care provider, James said he was not only concerned that the citizens were not getting what they were paying for, but he stated that there are many items in the contract that need to be revised to ensure that the services provided by the county can be more effective in a time of need.
Mason recommended that James, the procurement department, the 911 emergency services director, the administrator and the legal staff form a committee to decide the appropriate actions and contract changes that need to be done before addressing the commission again in two weeks. You Might Also Like: