Legal opinion pending on Woodland EMS

Published 10:34 am Monday, January 9, 2012

WOODLAND — The North Carolina Attorney General has requested more information from the town of Woodland regarding the Woodland Rescue Squad Benevolent Fund and equipment issue.

On Thursday evening, Mayor J. Ellis Garris gave the council an update about a letter that was drafted to the town by Town Attorney Charles Vaughan regarding the matter.

“I had a moment with our town attorney today and the letter that you authorized and instructed to send to the Attorney General concerning the former Woodland Volunteer Rescue Squad equipment and funds has been sent,” he said. “The Attorney General’s Office has come back, in a short time, and has asked for some follow up so they can make a good legal decision.”

Garris added the four to five items requested included title history on the vehicles and meeting minutes.

“The town attorney told me today that it had been sent forward,” he said. “Of course we have no idea how long the process is going to take.”

According to Garris, Vaughan indicated to him that the process could take days, weeks or months because the town was dealing with the matter on a state level.

Garris said he hoped the town would get a response soon in order to move on.

“Hopefully we’ll get a legal opinion on that from the State’s Attorney General’s office and we can drive on from there,” he said.

The town is trying to determine ownership of the former Woodland EMS ambulances and equipment as well as a benevolent fund. Former members of the rescue squad dispute the fund and equipment belongs to the town.

Woodland EMS was dissolved in September following the squad being returned to volunteer status.

Recently, Eastside EMS (which includes former members of Woodland EMS) was granted an ambulance franchise in order to operate in Northampton County and provide services to those in the southeastern portion of the county.