County council candidate Jim Rice says council lacks foresight regarding EMS

Press release from Jim Rice

Rice

Jim Rice, candidate for LaPorte County Council District 2, took the council to task for what he called its negligent handling of critical EMS needs.

“Since 2009, the LaPorte County Emergency Medical Service leadership has requested expansion of program services by adding another ambulance to the fleet, along with an EMT staff to manage it. On May 29 and then again on June 18, EMS Administrator Andrew McGuire’s request was denied a motion of support by the council. The council’s decision not to support an additional ambulance and crew indicates a lack of foresight and makes the need for long-term strategic planning abundantly clear. Mr. McGuire has kept the council informed of the growing number of response calls over the last several years. He reported that from 2009 to 2017, calls have increased from 11,515 to 15,647.

Moreover, the current year is pointing to another significant increase in calls, adding stress to an already overworked staff and overburdened vehicles. Despite the clear and present danger, and risk to the welfare of our citizenry in terms of maintaining acceptable EMS response times, the council has inexplicably failed to plan for this need,” Rice said.

“The Council’s response to this latest request to expand and improve the services of the EMS program was to say no monies have been allocated in this year’s budget to fund the request. The question is, having been aware of  this growing need in the EMS program since 2009, why did the council fail to plan ahead and begin allocating funds to address this issue? One council member suggested using one of the spare ambulances to meet the need and add new crew members when funds become available. What the council appears to forget is that these spare vehicles are put in service temporarily while the regular ambulances are being repaired or in for maintenance. This notion was unacceptable to Mr. McGuire, and for most reasonable thinking people, has no merit,” Rice said.

“As a retired school district superintendent, I have the managerial expertise to know the importance of proper planning to ensure that critical services are provided to our citizens. A strategic plan is created for the purpose of addressing  long-range needs. It is developed with input from department heads, administrators, community patrons, and elected officials. If attention had been given to the development of a long-range plan, perhaps the county would have the equipment and staff needed to service us efficiently and effectively.

“There are many issues facing our county in the foreseeable future. These range from improving and developing services for people with addiction, people who are homeless, people who are aging, and those with disabilities, to construction of a bypass around LaPorte. I support Mr. McGuire’s request to expand EMS services, because it is clear that response times to parts of our county put the lives and welfare of our citizens at outrageous and unacceptable risk. With all this in mind, I strongly urge the county council to formulate a strategic plan allowing  them to better address the issues facing our community, so that we never have a situation again in which, even with 10 years of lead time, the county council continues to sacrifice public safety as a direct consequence of derelict planning. We can and we MUST do better,” Rice concluded.

3 Responses to “County council candidate Jim Rice says council lacks foresight regarding EMS”

  1. Good Point

    Jul 16. 2018

    Mr.Rice makes a valid point. While being prudent with taxpayer dollars is important, isn’t it being imprudent by not planning ahead and more importantly, making a work environment that fosters good employees and doesn’t chase them off due to overloaded schedules?

    Plus, don’t the citizens deserve the best we can offer them when it comes to emergency services? It is sad that the residents in the northeast part of the county lack the same coverage as the remainder of the county.

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  2. Randy Novak

    Aug 29. 2018

    As President of the LaPorte County Council, I take great exception to the recent letter by my opponent in this fall’s election entitled, “Council lacks foresight on ambulance issue”. It’s disappointing when a candidate chooses to write an article in a misleading way, without all the facts.
    My goal in public service is to be part of the solution, and run my re-election campaign based on facts. I can assure you that the Council has been working with all Department Heads for strategic planning – while being fiscally responsible. For well over three decades I’ve worked in public safety, including side-by-side with Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and truly understand the need to properly fund and support their operations.
    Discussion of an additional ambulance and crew was first brought to the Council’s attention in 2017 by EMS Director Andrew McGuire, “to lay the groundwork” prior to approaching this year. McGuire’s request is to add six additional personnel and an ambulance in 2019. The Council did not reject or vote it down, but tabled it to responsibly work the additional personnel into the budget.
    In the last four years, the Council has had the foresight to raise pay for EMS employees (for job retention), purchase new ambulances, new supervisor vehicles, all new defibrillators, new billing and reporting software, all new radios, and with the assistance from LaPorte Hospital – a new Ambulance Base. The Council works closely with EMS supporting their needs, as well as all other departments.
    As a resident since childhood, working and raising my family here, I have always been actively involved in our community. I work and campaign with integrity, reaching out in a bipartisan fashion – to find common ground for a better LaPorte County.

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  3. Jodi Dials

    Oct 02. 2018

    I want to get ahold of Jim Rice….219-344-2776

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