EMS reorganization was for the best | Letter

The public hospital district commissioners have been taking some heat for their decision to replace the interim chief but I want to commend them for doing what I believe was in the best interest of EMS and the public. The former interim chief is a longtime friend. My wife and I hired him when he was a surveyor and he was great to work with. He’s a good person. But, in my opinion, he didn’t have the background or experience for the chief’s job and, after a while, it began to show. I’ve been following the hospital district and EMS closely and it was apparent to me that things were not going well under his direction. I know from experience that it’s almost always difficult to dismiss someone but it’s important to do what’s right for the organization, especially when you’re spending taxpayer dollars.

I think some of the criticism the hospital commissioners have received was not well informed and, in one case, it came from a person who, in my opinion, has a history of malicious and duplicitous comments.

I do not think it’s in the public interest to merge with the Fire District under the current leadership at Fire. Moreover, when 80 percent of the emergency calls on the island are medical it seems to me the hospital commission and EMS should be driving the emergency response bus, not Fire. I urge the hospital commissioners to start the search for a qualified, experienced permanent EMS chief, preferably one who has both EMS and fire experience.

Again, I want to thank the hospital district commissioners for behaving responsibly.

Richard Grout

San Juan Island