MESTA Board votes to Separate Systems from the 911 Center
Tuesday, May 13th the MESTA Board of Directors voted unanimously to Separate their Computer Systems from the County Commissioner operated 911 Center.
The vote came after a 3 hour Executive Session. The Board attorneys, James Orbison, and Kris Koepsel of the Riggs Abney law firm in Tulsa were present. Their firm has a great deal of experience in representing ambulance authorities, representing the Tulsa EMS authority, and several others. Also appearing before the Board in Executive Session were several MESTA employees. Director Rick Langkamp was in a Tulsa hospital recovering from back surgery on Monday.
Following the closed session, two motions were made as a result of information received in the Executive Session:
1. That MESTA separate its computer operations from the County Commissioner operated 911 Center.
2. That MESTA seek bids on the equipment necessary for the change over.
Both motions were passed unanimously by the 7 members present. It looks like the “Fixit Six” may be coming around. The 3 members present all voted in favor of the motion. Three other members left before the Executive Session was over, having “other commitments”. Sherman Weaver was one who left early. He has missed the past three meetings, we understand because of worrying about the OSBI investigation of the “Fixit Six”.
We understand that the unanimous vote was because under the current set up, the 911 employees have access to the confidential medical records generated by an ambulance call. These records are highly confidential under HIPPA regulations. Under the present setup, the 911 Center and MESTA share the same computer system. Employees of the 911 Center could access the medical records, resulting in very heavy fines to MESTA.
The MESTA employees speaking to the Board are reported to have said that a “Hostile Work Environment” exists under the present situation. Ms. Pennywhatever is said to be making rules for her dispatchers, when she knows nothing about dispatching. She is the boss, and has NO EXPERIENCE in dispatching, which is a very difficult job. This may result in a later action to physically move the MESTA dispatchers out of the County operated center.
We have heard that MESTA has lost one dispatcher, and another is looking for another job because of the conditions which exist in the 911 Center.
We have heard by the Grapevine (and you know how good it is around here) that a few of the reported many dispatching errors made by the new dispatchers are as follows:
1. Dispatching the Salina FD to an accident on the Cherokee Turnpike, when it was actually on Old Highway 33, just a short distance from the Chimney Rock Fire Department.
2. Dispatching Langley and Salina Fire Departments to South of Langley, when the fire was North of Langley.
3. The Kemp family, either “Pee Wee” or James, I don’t know which, of Pryor Stone, living at Lakeland Addition, had a fire alarm trip. The County 911 Dispatcher sent the Pryor Fire Department to a location West of Pryor. The Salina FD wasn’t dispatched (or arrived on the scene) until about 12 minutes after the alarm. Luckily it was a false alarm from a defective smoke detector. Otherwise you and the other taxpayers of Mayes County could have been for the dispatch error! This is because Alva and Darrell didn’t follow legal advise and set up a Public Trust for the 911 Center operations. They wanted the control, and not to have a Board involved!
There is one other area of major concern involving the inappropriate actions of Commissioner Alva Martin. A while back he came to the 911 Center “Raising Hell” according to reports. He threatened to fire all of the and take over operations of the Center himself, according to reports. According to the MESTA attorneys, this has created a “Hostile Work Environment” for the employees worried about their jobs. I have been told that none of the MESTA employees will work if the Commissioners dissolve the MESTA trust as they have threatened. This is the reason I was denied a copy of the “Incident Report” prepared following Alva’s visit. I might add, this is a valid reason to deny me a copy of the report.
While we are speaking of the digressions of Commissioner Martin, I have heard (but not verified) that he recently threatened to appoint himself to the MESTA Board, in order to “Straighten Out the Mess.”! Don’t know if it is true or not, but would be interesting to watch!
The MESTA Board will meet in a Special Session next
Tuesday, May 21st at 5:00 pm
. The purpose will be to work on bid proposals for the system change over, and to hear more from employees on the 911 Center problems. Some of the employees desiring to address the Board could not be present since they were out on an ambulance run.
Well, that’s my report. Neither Terry Alyward, of The Paper, or Cydney Baron of The Times were present for the meeting. Perhaps they will report from this posting. As always, members of the public are invited to MESTA Board Meetings. Hope to see you there, and at Commissioners Meetings. This is a revised post from what was posted earlier. I misunderstood the motion, believing it was to separate the dispatchers, not the equipment. I sincerely regret this error.