Misunderstanding surfaces over EMS for M’boro

Published 8:26 am Wednesday, August 12, 2009

MURFREESBORO – An expression of concern by members of the Murfreesboro Town Council on Tuesday that emergency medical service they thought had been promised the town was, in fact, not being provided, developed into a huddle later that afternoon between the town administrator and the Hertford County Manager.

The council thought the town was to have “24-7” ambulance service, with an ambulance stationed in Murfreesboro, beginning Aug. 1.

But County Manager Loria Williams, when contacted after the meeting Tuesday afternoon by the News-Herald, said, “There is no formal memorandum of understanding, so I’m not certain where they’re getting this time frame from.”

In the council’s regular meeting, responding to a question from a member of the council, Town Administrator Cathy Davison said she had placed a call to county officials to determine why the facilities provided by the town were not being manned as the town thought had been promised.

“They’re supposed to be stationed here permanently as of Aug. 1,” Davison told the council during the meeting, adding that she had not received a response to her call to the county.

“Everything we were supposed to do has been done,” Davison told the council.

“The commissioners have agreed we will have a vehicle over there,” Williams told the News Herald, “but not 24-7, around the clock. This has been expressed very clearly.”

“We’ll have a vehicle over there, but that vehicle will not be there 24-7. If a call comes in and the Ahoskie vehicle is on a run, that other vehicle will take that call. We do not have a true substation even in Ahoskie, because we don’t have the resources to do that,” the county manager said.

Williams also said there is “an issue with the sleeping quarters” in the Murfreesboro facility.

“There’s only one room,” she said, “so there is no provision for emergency medical personnel of both sexes.”

Williams continued, “We’re working on it, “but we’re not aware of any time frame or deadline.”

Davison and Williams talked later in the afternoon. After that conversation, Davison said Williams had “apologized if any of her staff gave us the impression that the EMS vehicle was going to be in Murfreesboro starting on July 1, then on Aug. 1 following the Watermelon Festival as she was not aware of any such date.”

Davison said the town will now draft a formal memorandum of understanding for the EMS service “that will include use of the facilities, operation of the EMS vehicle which will be at Station 19 in Winton and will come to Murfreesboro each day…” Davison said, however, that if a call is received outside of Murfreesboro, the ambulance may be obligated to respond to that call.

Davison said she will work with the town attorney to draft the memorandum of understanding.

In other action, the council recognized retiring police dispatcher Linda Deloatch.

Deloatch, whose retirement was effective Aug. 1, flanked by her grandchildren, Rueben and Shanna Deloatch, was presented a framed proclamation by Mayor Lynn Johnson.

Of Deloatch, Murfreesboro Police Chief Darrell Rowe said, “Linda was working here when I came here, so I’ve been working with her 20 years. She’s a good employee and a good friend…

“I’ll tell one story,” Rowe continued. “I had taken a baby that was being abused, a little, bitty infant. I left it with Linda and I went home – I had babies myself then – to get some diapers. While I was gone, the mama came to get the baby back, and Linda threatened to do her great bodily harm.”

Public Works Director Gene Byrd told the council the scale had been removed from the town’s Well No. 1, but it will be Friday before the inspection of the well’s casing can be undertaken.

Davison told the council the town’s occupancy tax enabling legislation has been ratified by the House.

She also reported that the town’s annual audit is set to start the week of Aug. 24.

The council adjourned into executive session to discuss personnel-related items.