In a special meeting Monday, the Liberty Township Board of Trustees discussed a resolution to formally reject Delaware County’s proposal to assume control of the township’s emergency medical services (EMS). The measure, however, was stalled when a motion to move it to a vote wasn’t seconded as required by law.
“There’s three options on the table to my understanding,” Gemperline said during the meeting. “You can reject it, accept it, or modify it. I don’t want to reject, I want to modify. I think we can get help in different ways, so I can’t reject it because I think it will close the door to their (Delaware County Board of Commissioners) help.”
The Delaware County Board of Commissioners took action Nov. 26, voting 2-1, to pass a resolution authorizing the county administrator to present a proposal to trustees offering to take control of the township’s EMS. Trustees received the proposal from the county Nov. 28.
Eichhorn, the lone trustee who opposes the county’s proposal, asked Gemperline if he had discussed his conclusions with any of the county commissioners.
“Did you get that feeling that if we reject it that it would close the door, because that’s not the feeling I got at all when I had that conversation?” Eichhorn asked Gemperline.
During the Nov. 29 commissioners’ meeting, Delaware County Commissioner Gary Merrell told a crowded hearing room that the board was asked by the trustees to give them a proposal of “what if?”
“We did that,” he said. “Now Liberty Township will have to take a look at it. They may say they don’t want to go in that direction. They may say it has merit but with some changes. They may look at it and say it looks perfect.”
Gemperline said he had no indication other than there were the three options of accepting, rejecting or modifying.
“I’ll go with option three — modify,” he said.
Gemperline then commented on a conversation he overheard earlier in the day on Monday involving Eichhorn.
“I think you said that we have a great fire and EMS,” he said. “I agree with it completely. Maybe it needs tweaked a little bit. But we’ve got a great thing. We want to keep community control.”
Gemperline added he would like it if Eichhorn would work with him and Leneghan on considering possible modifications to the township’s EMS.
“We’re not talking drastic things but some tweaking that I think is going to improve the service, and we’ll all be happy,” he said.
Eichhorn said she thought the three trustees were working together or at least trying too, but she had a different perspective, which is why the resolution to formally reject the proposal was on the special meeting’s agenda.
“I don’t get the feeling that if we formally reject it, it closes the door, but I hear what you’re saying,” she told Gemperline. “I feel that based on the fact that we’ve talked about how we do want to keep local control, I think it would just send a very positive and clear message to the residents that we’re letting the commissioners know that we do want to maintain local control.”
Leneghan said she sees it as “premature to reject a proposal when we’re waiting on the informal group to provide us their recommendations. I’m looking forward to their recommendations that are put forward from them, which will preserve our EMS department. It’s premature to reject a proposal at this time when it’s the cornerstone of moving forward.”
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.