The Liberty Township Board of Trustees on Monday appointed the township’s new administrator, Michael Schuiling, to be its voice at the table of the Delaware County Pre-Hospital Care System Advisory Board of Directors.
The board, which was formed in early February by the Delaware County Board of Commissioners, has been charged with governing and providing oversight in the operation, the quality of service, the policies, strategic planning, medical direction, training, operability, protocols, and standards for all EMS within the county.
It was the intention of the commissioners to invite all the fire chiefs in the county, having charge of EMS, to be members of the board.
However, two months after the formation of the new board, Liberty Township trustees debated what the township’s involvement should be.
“I think the people need to hear what kind of group this is now,” Trustee Melanie Leneghan said during a back and forth conversation with Trustee Shyra Eichhorn during an April 20 meeting.
Eichhorn stated she had been informed that the township’s fire chief, Thomas O’Brien, was told not to attend the county’s Pre-Hospitalization Care System board meetings.
In response, Leneghan stated she needed to understand the dynamics of the group before she could approve of participation in it, and she had asked Delaware County Administrator Michael Frommer to make a presentation on the group, because “everything had completely changed.”
Eichhorn added that O’Brien had made a presentation to the trustees in February on what the group was and about what it was going to do.
During Monday’s trustees meeting, the board decided against being represented on the Pre-Hospitalization Care System Advisory Board by its fire chief like the other entities involved. Instead, trustees passed a resolution appointing Schuiling, township administrator, as its representative to the board of directors.
“The Liberty Township Board of Trustees supports the collaboration and cooperation between the Liberty Township Fire Department, Delaware County and the City of Delaware in improving emergency medical services (EMS),” states the resolution. “… appoint(s) the township administrator as the township’s representative on the Pre-Hospital Care System Board of Directors … and to further authorize the township the administrator to use his authority to include other staff as he sees necessary.”
Before casting her vote, Eichhorn was adamant that O’Brien attend every board of director’s meeting with Schuiling.
“We get one vote, right?” she asked Schuiling. “Will you be taking Chief O’Brien with you most of the time or all the time, because I think that how it’s going to be funneling through Chief O’Brien.”
“I think that is absolutely important to continue to solidify Liberty Township’s stance throughout this process,” he said.
Leneghan added there had been a prior discussion with Schuiling about serving as the township’s representative, but that he would also take “any staff with him that he sees necessary to get the township treated fairly.”
However, Eichhorn emphasized that the Ohio Revised Code establishes the fire chief as the one over the township’s EMS.
“Any of those decisions going forward, that they vote on, you’ll have to have him (O’Brien) there or we’re going to have legal issues,” she said. “That’s why I think it’s important that he be with you at all those meetings.”
The advisory board’s first meeting, April 6, was chaired by Frommer and attended by Schuiling, who at the time served as Delaware County EMS chief, O’Brien, Delaware City Fire Chief John Donahue, Concord Township Fire Chief Todd Cooper, Genoa Township Fire Chief Gary Honeycutt, Harlem Township Fire Chief Dale Fling, Orange Township Fire Chief Matthew Noble, and Delaware County Emergency Communications (911) Director Patrick Brandt.
Since then, the board has had a meeting once a month to organize and begin the work of standardizing the protocols of all EMS in the county.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.