Bertie personnel changes approved

Published 5:15 pm Friday, August 26, 2022

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WINDSOR – An increase in the number of medical transport calls has led to the approval of adding another ambulance and crew to Bertie County EMS.

The decision was made here last week as the Bertie County Board of Commissioners, at their regularly scheduled meeting, discussed several items on the agenda dealing with personnel.

Mitch Cooper, the county’s Emergency Services Director, made a request to the commissioners to unfreeze two positions within his department. Cooper identified those positions as a Transport Coordinator and an EMT/Paramedic position.

“What this will allow us to do is to move one of our captains, who is pulling dual duties, into a position for her promotion [to Transport Coordinator] and add an additional employee to the services we are providing so we can add an additional ambulance,” Cooper explained to the board.

Cooper said the need for another transport ambulance is based on call volume this year.

“So, why did we wait until now and request this,” Cooper said. “We didn’t want the call volume numbers to be a fluke, a rise and then back down. We’ve seen 12 months of increased call volume but we’ve had six months of increased call volume with us turning down three-to-five calls per day on average.”

He said the operational cost of adding a transport ambulance is $130,475 annually with a revenue of $185,138, a net gain of $54,663.

Cooper said the transport service typically operates five trucks per day, but with the increased call volume that leads to overtime.

“Adding that sixth truck will reduce the overtime, while leading to increased revenue by scheduling those three-to-five calls we currently have to turn down,” he said.

The board approved all of Cooper’s requests.

The commissioners also took action on a pair of staffing requests made by Cortney Ward, the county’s Human Resources Director. Ward said the positions of Communications Director and Emergency Services Billing Coordinator need to be added to the salary schedule.

“Towards the end of last year, the county was notified of the Sheriff’s request to pass on the responsibility of supervision of the communications department to the county,” Ward said. “Effective Aug. 1, the county officially assumed supervision of this department. Upon assuming the supervision, we identified the need to add a director level position to this department as well as to our classification plan and salary schedule. The Sheriff was the hiring authority prior to Aug. 1.”

Ward said she reached out to surrounding counties to identify comparable/appropriate salary grade and range for the position. She then made the request is to add the Communications Director position at Grade 75 with a hiring rate of $46,210 annually with a max salary of $71,626.

That request was approved by the commissioners without objection.

As for the Emergency Services Billing Coordinator position, Ward told the board that the EMS Department needed to move forward with a couple of small departmental restructuring items.

“To complete these changes we have identified the need to request the Emergency Services Billing Coordinator position to our classification plan and salary schedule,” Ward stated. “Within this review we found that we have an employee that is pretty much doing the work as the Billing Services Coordinator which we recommend as a salaried position on our classification plan. Within the newly requested role, the main focus [of this position] is compliance, auditing, and EMS billing.”

Again, Ward took a look at how surrounding counties handled classifying this position. That comparison led to a recommendation of Grade 71 with a hiring rate of $39,047 annually with a max rate of $60,523.

Answering a question from Commissioner Ron Wesson about the possibility of having to hire another EMS employee, Ward said that wasn’t the case as the individual identified to handle the billing is already doing this work within her current role.

“We’re not adding a new position to the budget, but rather reclassifying it, retitling it to cover the work she’s actually already doing,” Ward noted.

The commissioners unanimously approved the request.


About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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