Miffed at what they see is an infringement of their responsibility, the Davis Emergency Medical Services Council members Thursday voted to send the County Commission and Council of Governments a reprimand.
The council members are upset that an ad hoc committee studying the county's paramedic service was requested by the Davis Council of Governments and appointed by the County Commission.Council member Floyd Morgan, administrator of Humana Hospital Davis North in Layton, singled out commissioner Robert D. Rose for particular criticism, saying the commissioner is politicizing the paramedic issue in his last months in office.
Rose broached the subject of the paramedic service at the September Council of Governments meeting, suggesting an independent committee be named to study it and report back in October.
The paramedic service is operated by the county sheriff's department, funded by a property tax levy. Rose suggested that with city fire departments operating ambulance and emergency medical technician services, perhaps the paramedic service could be turned over to the cities.
The commissioner also asked for a committee to study emergency dispatch procedures in the county to see if a centralized dispatch operation would be cheaper to operate, eliminating duplication of services.
Council members, made up of fire and police chiefs, emergency medical technician and paramedic officials, and representatives from the medical community, are upset that independent committees have been named to study the two issues.
Both, Morgan said, are clearly within the council charter and area of responsibility. And the council has spent more than a decade dealing with them, the hospital administrator said.
Council chairman and Layton fire chief Allen Peek said the three-person paramedic study committee was initially told to come back in October, a month after its appointment, to report to the Council of Governments.
But they're finding the issue is so complex that he predicted a report won't be ready for several months, after Rose leaves office the first week in January.
"They (committee members) have a tremendous task, first getting a basic understanding of how the emergency medical system works across the county and then deciding the best way to run it," said Peek.
South Davis Fire District Chief Brent Argyle said he fears the study committee will only look at the money spent, not the broader issue of the quality of emergency medical care in the county and the level of service needed.
"The emphasis should be on enhancing the system, not cutting it or just focusing solely on the dollars spent," said Argyle.
Sheriff's department chief deputy K.D. Simpson, who supervises the paramedic program, said he'd rather see a broad study of the whole spectrum of emergency services offered through the county, including paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and ambulance services.
Morgan called the situation sad, saying Rose, an interim commissioner appointed in July to serve through January, is following his own political agenda and bypassing the council.
Rose, attending an association of counties convention in St. George, was not available for comment.