During Monday’s much-anticipated Liberty Township Board of Trustees meeting, Trustee Mike Gemperline made a motion to extend the appointment of Warren Yamarick, M.D., as medical director of the township’s emergency medical services (EMS). Without the extension, the township’s EMS would have ceased operations at midnight Jan. 1, 2019.
“Dr. Yamarick, would you accept a 30-day extension?” Gemperline asked during the meeting. “I’d like to put a resolution forward to extend the contract with Dr. Yamarick for 30 days.”
“That would be until Jan. 31. Second,” said Trustee Shyra Eichhorn.
The motion was approved by Eichhorn and Gemperline with Trustee Melanie Leneghan voting “no.”
Following the vote, Gemperline added, “You guys think Melanie and I are talking. I have no idea what she’s doing.”
According to Yamarick, by law, the township’s EMS operates under the medical license of the medical director. If there’s no medical director, there is no EMS.
“This is an irresponsible act by this board of trustees that we do not have a direction on what we’re going to do with medical care, that has to function under a medical license,” Yamarick said during the public comment portion of the meeting. “Our EMS team has to take care of our residents. I am unclear how that will ever occur… .”
Eichhorn stated that at that point, the county would have to take over.
During the Dec. 3 meeting, Leneghan tabled the resolution for Yamarick’s appointment and did so again Monday evening to the dismay of the residents.
“We are going to have a medical director by the end of the year,” Leneghan said about the tabled resolution, although she would not commit to a timeline to appoint anyone to the position. “I’ve been talking to Ohio State University.”
Currently, trustees have a proposal pending from the Delaware County Board of Commissioners to take over the township’s EMS. The medical director for Delaware County EMS works for OSU.
Residents, who are in an uproar about the proposal, have demanded that trustees vote it down.
Trustees received the proposal Nov. 29 after a surprise turn of events when Delaware County commissioners Jeff Benton and Gary Merrell approved a resolution, two days before, authorizing the county administrator to present an Emergency Medical Services proposal to the Liberty Township Board of Trustees.
Commissioner Barb Lewis stated she was opposed to the unexpected resolution and voted against it.
“No decisions have been made. No decisions are going to be made at least until we have all the information gathered,” Leneghan told the gathered residents on Monday. “There’s a lot of moving parts. You can’t make those decisions overnight. You have to gather a lot of information, and that’s the process we’re in.”
Residents have stated during the past few meetings that they don’t trust Leneghan.
“Ultimately, it is my hope, I don’t know exactly when it will happen, but ultimately … if there is a conclusion that would be a benefit to the community, on any level, then it would be my hope to let the voters decide,” Leneghan said.
Eichhorn addressed the idea.
“By Ohio Revised Code, you can’t put on there whether it is or not,” Eichhorn told her. “The only other way to do this is to wait until the next election, and we can have different candidates run on those platforms and see what happens.”
Leneghan mentioned she was negotiating with the county over the proposal, and residents called for an explanation of what she meant by the comment.
“I’m gathering information and asking if we can do things differently,” she said. “It’s kind of negotiating when you say I want this not that. I’ve actually been listening to all of your comments. Last time I wrote everything down, everybody’s concerns and questions, and I started making phone calls and asking about all of them.”
Trustees took no action on the proposal from the county.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.