MESTA Board votes to Separate Systems from the 911 Center

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.

Judge Dean

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About Judge Gary J Dean

I have practiced law in Pryor (Creek), Oklahoma, since graduation from the Oklahoma University College of Law. I served as a District Court Judge serving Mayes, Rogers, and Craig Counties until my retirement in 2010. Since my retirement I have served as a Mediator, and engaged in the private practice of law. My wife Tracey, and I have both been very active in civic affairs all of our lives. I had to cut back on this activity while on the bench. Tracey is very active in Rotary, and has served as an Assistant District Governor in Rotary International District 6110, and is a Past President of our Pryor club. We are both Rotary Paul Harris Foundation Fellows. I started this Blog because of serious wrongdoing in the community which I see. I would have had to keep quiet on these matters while a Judge. The purpose of this Blog is to provide a forum for discussion of community issues. Comments will remain uncensored, and unedited, except for unreasonably improper language. Your comments and suggestions are welcome. I sincerely hope all enjoy visiting this blog, and that it will provide a good forum for community issues.
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7 Responses to MESTA Board votes to Separate Systems from the 911 Center

  1. Frank Kotoff says:

    Thank you for this report Judge Dean. The more the people of Mayes County know, the better.

    Like

  2. Richard Head says:

    Very concerning that MESTA is taking all the steps to move out of the 911 Center. The mess in Rogers County is nothing to what we will have if that happens. Yoder guaranteed everyone that there would be at least two dispatchers 24/7 in the 911 center. If MESTA leaves, where will the other dispatcher come from? Is 911’s budget such that they can afford another dispatcher 24/7? If not the fire departments have said they will also leave the dispatch center. ISO ratings will go way up and people’s insurance premiums will skyrocket.

    Wow! Thank you once again for your expert leadership commissioners. Hopefully the one new commissioner we are for sure getting in November will be the opposite of Martin and right some potentially catastrophic wrongs before it is too late.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Frank Kotoff says:

      Richard, you have summed it up perfectly. This is all the result of 2 commissioners that have been shooting from the hip, without the expertise to manage the mess they have created, on the advice of someone that is not qualified to be involved in dispatching management, but who is vendetta driven.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Richard Head says:

    It is amazing that personal feelings and agendas influence so many elected officials. People are elected to office to protect the rights of the citizens and uphold the will of the people. Corruption is the ruination of our society and is as apparent at the local levels of government as it is at the state and federal levels.

    The sad part of this whole situation with 911 is that few people will voice their opinions and stand up for what is right until it is too late. This was very apparent with what happened with the sex abuse in the Delaware County Jail recently and the preferential zoning deal in Rogers County.

    These are two perfect examples of the elected officials making HUGE mistakes and the tax payers paying HUGE settlements/judgements against the counties. It will be many years before these are paid off. Image where those funds could be utilized to make needed improvements.

    People in Mayes County have no idea what kind of lawsuits are probable from the actions of Yoder and Martin. Lets hope with the retirement of Martin, things turn around QUICK!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Insider says:

    You guys have hit the nail on the head. The Commissioners have no idea as to what running the 911 Center is costing! Ms. Pennywhatever, (As Judge Dean Calls her) is “Cookin the Books” Big Time! I don’t think it is out of malice, but out of ignorance. She knows about as much about accounting as she does about running the 911 Center.

    I have seen her financials, and this is what she is doing. She is NOT accruing any annual charges each month as is proper accounting practices require. She has some major costs, like insurance, which are paid annually, I think one of these is over $40,000 annually. When the bills come, where will the money come from? Out of our pockets, that’s where.

    One of the newspapers, I forget which, had an article quoting Yoder stating the 911 center was “making a profit”. Such BS. Someone with a little accounting know how (County Clerk True?) needs to take a look at the books and let the Commissioners know what is going on.

    I don’t think Martin and Yoder want to know. They just want to burry their heads in the sand, and collect all of the 911 phone tax money, and use it for their pet projects.

    I just wish the local papers, “The Daily Wipe” and “The Pooper” (they kind of go together don’t they?), would get off their sorry butts, and report the real story about all that is going on! It’s a shame we have to rely on Judge Dean for the real story.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. INSIDER, from what I know all that you said is accurate. Thanks for your post.

    Like

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