Commissioners Pack, Owens, Gage and Holbert compound disgrace

Published 10:25 pm Tuesday, March 12, 2013

To the editor:

It remains a disgrace that Commissioners Michael Gage and Ted Owens fired Dr. Alison Owens, as EMS Medical director, before any lawful meeting had been held among the entire Board of Commissioners to discuss that ill conceived action.

Dr. Owens served Polk County well, and was an excellent and caring EMS medical director.
I talked with Chuck Lewis, North Carolina’s EMS liaison in Conover, N.C. He provides oversight for EMS operations in Polk and other western NC counties.

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Mr. Lewis told me Dr. Owens has “done an outstanding job” as EMS medical director.
So, why did commissioners Tom Pack, Owens, Gage and Keith Holbert later vote to fire Dr. Owens?

Two previously told me it was because Dr. Owens “was too hard on the volunteers.” As best I could tell, that meant she required them to comply with state standards. That’s all. Surely adhering to and applying state-mandated standards is not a firing offense.

As the contract in the commissioners’ agenda packet made clear, the real reason was to hire Dr. Lonnie Lassiter, a political supporter of Commissioners Owens and Pack.
Dr. Lassiter was the only medical director applicant. That was entirely foreseeable at the time Owens and Gage fired Dr. Owens, and was made more so by the arbitrary and abusive way