Commission puts EMT chief on six-month probation

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
Marion County Emergency Medical Services Director Darryl Thiesen was placed on six-month probation Monday by the Board of County Commissioners following a half hour of repeated executive sessions for personnel.

The probation reportedly was based on administrative questions following a report by Thiesen and his assistant, Woody Crawshaw, that they had discovered $6,466 in uncollected ambulance bills from August and September of 2004 that were totalled in the computer, but never printed out.

Crawshaw, who began his work as an accountant in the department in October 2004, which was right after the bill files were discovered, said that without the printed files, EMS has no names or addresses to bill for the services.

The commissioners voted 3-0 to write them off as a consequence.

Crawshaw said they had one recent ambulance run for $305 that also may be uncollectible because the patient is insured under Oklahoma Medicaid, and it might cost the county more to enlist and renew annually with the Oklahoma program than it would collect.

Thiesen said he would be willing to notify the Oklahoma patient and Medicaid but not if he found it to be illegal.

Thiesen and Crawshaw have been in charge of a program that went back into previously unbilled ambulance runs over the last three years to collect tens of thousands of dollars.

The commissioners said they were disappointed that more uncollected accounts have turned up after they had auditors assist EMS in bringing the department current.

Commissioner Randy Dallke asked for the executive sessions. Following those sessions, Commissioner Bob Hein recommended the probation.

NDS funding

The commissioners decided to allow county funding continue to Northview Developmental Services after listening to the group’s executive officer, Mary Holloway, describe corporate reorganization activities since Social and Rehabilitation Services granted NDS a delay following taking its license.

Holloway said NDS will continue to operate at some levels in keeping developmentally disabled persons working and remaining with families in the area until the issues are resolved.

Dallke recommended the funding continuance after attending a meeting on NDS’s future last week.

Salvage-yard action

Bobbi Strait, director of planning, zoning and environmental health, reported that she, road and bridge personnel, and a sheriff’s office stand-by were to go Tuesday to where Delbert and Alvin J. Thiessen have items from their salvage yard parked on county right-of-way.

Strait said the Thiessens were notified by personally delivered letter that the county must take action if they didn’t clean up the area within seven days.

Strait said a flatbed truck with another vehicle on it has been reparked there, and more things have been placed on the right-of-way, so the county must take action for public safety.

She said under current action, private property can’t be removed, but it can be relocated with county equipment.

Strait added that the salvage yard owners also can be billed for personnel time and equipment for all three county departments involved.

She said the action could enter into state decisions to continue the yard’s state permit.

Restoration effort at lake

The commissioners agreed to support Landon Leiker, who came to the meeting with his parents, Lee and Diane Leiker of Marion, in an effort with County Clerk Carol Maggard to seek a county Heritage Fund Grant for restoration of original recreation features at Marion County Lake.

Leiker gave a photo slide presentation, and described original developments built or intended to be built at the lake during its construction in the 1930s, such as a baseball diamond, golf course, horseshoe pits, giant outdoor checker board and croquet court.

He said some of these things, such as the checker board complete with checkers, already have been restored with volunteer labor.

There are also many stone-built items he would include for restoration in the grant such as picnic tables, doors on original skeet shooting buildings, cooking pits, incinerators, toilets, a pump house and others.

Leiker said he has the original plans for the nine-hole golf course which would be put on unoccupied land at the southeast end of the Lake.

Leiker said he currently would seek a grant of $49,600 to accomplish his goals.

Commission Chair Dan Holub said, “Frankly, I am surprised there aren’t more dollars involved.”

Dallke commended Leiker as a young person for having the initiative to undertake such a project.

Other business

Strait also reported that work on water wells for testing purposes has been completed at the old Marion County landfill according to Jack Chappelle, engineer.

Dale Snelling, park and lake superintendent, said he will begin work immediately to take apart the old lake deck now that he has received approval of a new $47,994 state sharing grant for a new dock at the Marion County Lake.

Snelling said part of the old deck will be towed to the east side of the dam for an unloading area.

Flaming’s Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. of Marion was awarded the contract for installing new heating and cooling at the Marion County Lake house at $7,199 compared to bids from two other heating and cooling companies, Suffield’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing at $7,210 and Schwan’s at $9,424.

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