Ex-board member Lambert suggests his services as paid director of Cleburne EMS
by Laura Camper
lcamper@annistonstar.com
Jul 19, 2013 | 4401 views |  0 comments | 76 76 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HEFLIN -- A former Cleburne County Hospital Board member who has been volunteering as interim director of the county’s Emergency Medical Service proposed Thursday taking on the position as a paid employee.

Tracy Lambert was appointed to the board, which manages the Cleburne County Nursing Home and EMS, in January. Lambert offered to oversee a reorganization of the service to bring costs more in line with the board’s budget. On Feb. 21, former director Keith Roberts resigned and Lambert took over as interim director.

Lambert said Thursday he told the board in January he would stay on at EMS for six months and he has done that.

“It’s wearing me out,” Lambert said.

However, he proposed to the board members at their meeting Thursday evening that he would continue to head the service as a paid part-time director.

Lambert said he resigned from the board last week so that he could make the proposal as a resident, not a board member.

Hospital Board Chairman Bill Cleino said EMS is on much better financial footing than it was six months ago, when Lambert started the reorganization.

“I think that the numbers speak for themselves,” Cleino said. “The revenue’s up. The expenses are down. The tax subsidy we were giving is down drastically.”

In the last six months, the service has increased its bank balance from about $19,000 to $112,000, Lambert said. At the same time it has decreased its dependence on taxpayer funding. In June 2012, the service used $39,000 of the 4-mill tax collected to support the nursing home and EMS. This June, it used just $17,625 from that source, Lambert said.

Cleino attributes the changes to leadership provided by Lambert and the three captains at the service, Missy Price, Lee Bullock and Mitch Upchurch. Cleino said he thinks it’s time to hire a permanent director.

“Asking a board member to do it free is more than we should be expecting,” Cleino said. “EMS needs good, long-term leadership. It needs stability.”

Lambert, who is also the police chief in Buchanan, Ga., told the members he intends to stay on as interim director of EMS until the board decides how to proceed.

He recommended hiring a part-time director and then offered to do the job himself.

“I’ve invested a lot of time out there and I’ve seen the changes and it’s exciting,” Lambert said. “I’d hate to see it go back to where it was.”

Cleino asked the board members whether they wanted a full- or part-time director.

“I myself don’t want the director out there driving trucks,” Cleino said. “I’d rather have the director there coordinating the efforts of the professionals.”

Board members Clarence Duckworth and Kay Allen said they believed the position could be filled with a part-time employee. Allen added that she thought the board should advertise for the position and allow Lambert to apply.

“We’ve got to take into consideration what Tracy (Lambert) has done out there,” Allen said. “I think he should apply and I think we need to get other people to apply too and see what our options are.”

The board unanimously approved advertising the position for a week and then getting together in a special meeting to interview the applicants.

In other business, the board members:

— Approved a $5.4 million budget for the Nursing Home.

— Approved a $796,000 budget for EMS.

— Approved allocating $3,000 to repair an ambulance that hit a deer.

— Approved allocating $7,950.50 for the construction of bedrooms at the EMS building.

— Approved allowing the nursing home administrator Eura Harrell to buy back a week’s vacation time from employees who are having a tough time financially.

— Approved a donation of $500 to East Central Alabama United Cerebral Palsy pending the financial auditor’s approval.

Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.
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