County EMS also working without deputy director
Still in search of an executive director to replace the departed E.J. Claflin, Putnam County EMS is about to be without a deputy director.
Deputy Director Joe Carnagua tendered his resignation to the Putnam County Commissioners last week, effective Feb. 29.
Since Claflin’s departure for a job in North Carolina in January, Carnagua had been in charge of the day-to-day operations of the county-owned ambulance service, with Claflin continuing to consult remotely.
However, Canagua walked out on Tuesday, leaving Commissioner President Rick Woodall, -- with no EMS training -- effectively in charge.
In the meantime, leaders have been chosen on each shift to help Woodall.
The executive director search is also proceeding
By Friday, Woodall hopes to have the field narrowed to three candidates and two alternates.
He hopes that a round of interviews with the commissioners will follow next week.
The idea is to have a new executive director in place by the second or third week of March. That person, in turn, can hire a deputy director.
It’s all made for a tricky first two months for the newly-established Putnam County EMS.
Claflin had been the executive director of Putnam County Operation Life since 2015 and for the last year oversaw the transition from the non-profit OL to the county-owned Putnam County EMS on Jan. 1.
Woodall gave a number of these updates to the Putnam County Council last week, during a meeting in which the council also approved several transfers to the EMS budget to help it through the first year of operation.
These included $175,000 from the Economic Development Income Tax warchest, as well as $300,000 from the hazardous waste fund.
The idea is, though, that EMS will grow less reliant on other county funds as billing and federal reimbursement begin rolling in.
One advantage the county has over a small non-profit is a higher rate of federal reimbursement and a greater ability to collect payments.
In other business:
• The council approved changing a job share in the adult probation department to simply two part-time positions.
• Judge Denny Bridges informed the council that a change is going to have to come in terms of salaries for public defenders.
In Putnam County, public defenders make $35,000 with no benefits and no office staff to help them.
Bridges pointed out that in Vermillion County, which is tiny, they make $66,000 and have insurance.
The courts are currently working on a rather small staff of defenders and have no margin for error.
“The problem is, we don’t have any other lawyers,” Bridges said. “The people we’ve hired are the people who are interested.”
In fact, the only Putnam County attorney is Trudy Selvia.
“I don’t like hiring outside the county, but they just aren’t interested,” Bridges said.
While nothing is going to be done at this time, Bridges and the council members agreed the issue will have to be seriously discussed when the 2020 budget hearings roll around.
• The council approved a $9,000 transfer in the planning and zoning budget from mileage to fuel.
The change is necessary because County Planner Don Hatfield is now using a county-owned vehicle rather than his own.