Polk to pay for all of medical director’s salary

Published 4:14pm Friday, February 22, 2013

Pittman told commissioners as they know the previous medical director’s resignation was effective Feb. 15 and the “clock is ticking.” The county can work under the state without a medical director until March 15. Polk fired former medical director Dr. Allison Owens earlier this year and she agreed to work until Feb. 15.

Pittman said Lassiter has been recommended by four of the county’s fire departments.

There has been some disagreement over who the new medical director is endorsed by, such as the hospital, but the majority of commissioners said last week that they will abide by whatever the state requires. The state has to approve the county’s medical director based on required certifications.

Commissioners also discussed separating current EMS director Sandra Halford’s duties. She is currently the EMS director and the county fire marshal and emergency management director. Commissioners were given job descriptions for each of those duties with commissioner Tom Pack saying the board needs to give Pittman direction in order to prepare the upcoming budget.

Gasperson said that’s the first he’s seen of the job descriptions and said he’s assuming the board will vote to consider separating the positions at the next meeting.

Pack told Gasperson, “excuse me for being blunt,” but that he was “playing dumb.”

“We talked about this in closed session so don’t act like you don’t know what we’re talking about,” Pack said.

Gasperson said the separation of duties may have great merit.

“However, before moving forward this board should make sure that the real agenda behind this decision is to improve the health and safety of the citizens of our county and not an agenda that is being driven by campaign promises and personnel concerns,” said Gasperson.

He asked that before the board makes a final decision, there be public meetings open to all residents, but especially those connected to EMS, the fire departments, law enforcement and other health and safety personnel.

Pack said commissioner meetings are open to the public and the county just needs to notify everybody and they can be there for the next meeting to discuss it.

“I’ve talked to chiefs and captain of the rescue,” Pack said. “This is how I feel we need to go. I’ve done my homework.”


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