Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Washington County Supervisors hashed out potential changes to ambulance department policy that would set a minimum number of hours for the department’s staff at 24 every two pay periods.
“It is only to have a minimum standard that we need to work a certain amount of hours,” Ambulance Director Jeremy Peck said. “If they’re not able to do that, we don’t feel like they’re going to be able to go out and treat our loved ones appropriately, based on just not having experience and knowing where things are at.”
Peck said the move would not effect any current employees, after the recent resignation of two casual part-time employees, but would ensure the department could avoid incidents moving forward.
“We’ve recently had personnel change requests for two that we’ve had over the last 20 to 21 months, they’ve worked minimum hours and stepped out on their own,” he said. “But it shouldn’t occupy the time that it occupies in order for me to have conversations with them, emails that go back and forth … we need people that are trained to go out and do the job, we’re trying to raise our bar.”
The move was tabled for next week’s meeting, with supervisors citing complaints they’d received about the policy’s wording from Human Resources Director Amber Armbruster — who could not attend the meeting for unplanned reasons — but which Peck said he hadn’t heard anything about. Ambulance officials said they’d received mixed messages.
“Other departments have casual part-time, she was worried that if we defined casual part-time that way, it would effect all the departments, in the county” said Assistant Ambulance Director Pat Curl. “I came up with ‘non-full-time,’ there were not identified any specific positions for other departments … why she’s changed and now has an issue with that, I don’t know.”
County Attorney John Gish said there was some history of department-specific policies.
“We have carved out some items for the engineer’s office, so there’s a precedent for doing that,” he said. “But this is a unique situation, I don’t really know enough about what’s going on to properly advise you all.”
The motion to table was frustrating to some, part of a string of delayed decisions for the county ambulance service.
“We’re obligated to back our director,” Supervisor Stan Stoops said. “He’s got a problem, he’s come up with a solution on how to handle it … we’re going to give it one more time, just one more week.”
Peck was also upset with the series of policy changes postponed by red tape.
“There’s been plenty of emails to all five of you with (HR) included in it asking for input,” he said. “I try to hash all this stuff out so that when I’m sitting here in front of the board of supervisors, I’m not getting this every single time.”