I felt a need to write a letter to the board members and anyone who they want to share it with. As the only full-time employee of the Johnson County Rural Health Care District and someone who has 20 years of EMS experience in Johnson County, I feel I have the experience and knowledge to give the board some advice and counsel on EMS operations.
Buffalo EMS and/or Dave Harness do not serve all of Johnson County; their service area is Tax District 100, which is the northern half of Johnson County. Dave continually states that he serves the people of Johnson County when in fact he is just the owner of a contracted service. Tax District 101, which is served by Johnson County EMS – Kaycee, consists of approximately 2,000 square miles, which is not served by Buffalo EMS and is 38% of the valuation of the county. The board has never given Dave authority over the entire county yet he states that he is the head of Johnson County Ambulance, (which is not a legal entity) and represents himself as such to outside entities. The elected officials are the real representatives of the county and are the only people who can legally make any decision for all of Johnson County.
We all know in today’s economic environment that budgets will have to be cut, yet Dave wants to maintain his level of funding with no concessions given to the taxpayers. I think we all know that tax revenue is going to significantly decrease and we are all going to be working with less. It is up to the board to create and approve a budget not a contractor, and the board should not be told by a contractor how to put their budget together. Both ambulance services will have to operate on the amount of money the board approves in the 2020-21 budget. A good manager will be able to maintain quality service with less and that is what we will be doing in the coming years.
Dave also speaks about his personnel and their need to have job security. In the current environment, there is no guarantee of jobs in the private or public sector – once again dollars dictate budgets. About one-third of the U.S. population has either lost their job or had hours reduced, so why does Buffalo EMS think they get to have a contract that exempts them from any impact of the economic downturn. If need be to maintain the level of service that Buffalo feels they need, maybe they should look at using volunteer labor as Kaycee still does. I believe the value of this was in excess of $300,000 that was donated to the county. Dave continually states that the board does not appreciate his EMTs because they need to cut funding, so why are only the Buffalo EMTs worthy of full-time pay? EMS is not considered an essential service in Wyoming, so if cuts have to be made and services are reduced, the board would not be liable for any negative impact. The board only has to provide the best service they can with the money they have to work with.
I hope that this information is helpful to all of you and would be more than happy to discuss this further with any or all of you.