County announces new EMS director, job structure

The Board of County Commissioners announced the appointment of Brandy McCarty as the county?s Emergency Medical Services director Monday.

McCarty succeeds interim director JoAnn Knak and was to begin work the following day.

The commissioners said that after many interviews with candidates for the position and many insightful discussions, they expect McCarty to be a new kind of EMS director?more of a communicator and coordinator than a hands-on medical worker.

McCarty has served two years as an EMT in?Marion County. Prior to that she worked for nearly 15 years in medical and coordination work at Parkside Assisted Living in Hillsboro.

The other commissioners joined Commissioner Randy Dallke in saying they owe a ?debt of gratitude? to Knak ?for stepping up? to run EMS until a new director was selected.

The commissioners acknowledged they could have hired an EMS director from among candidates who had more hands-on experience, and who usually demanded a higher salary than the $30,000-plus McCarty will receive.

They emphasized that McCarty?s selection wasn?t merely an effort to save county dollars, but because of her administrative abilities as a communicator and coordinator.

Commissioner Dan Holub said McCarty has the ability to coordinate with EMTs while allowing them to act independently in emergency situations.

As a result of the search process, the commissioners said they will create a new county board to improve medical services. The board would include doctors, hospital personnel, EMTs and other professionals with McCarty coordinating the service itself under the board?s direction.

Help for deserving poor

In a somewhat related topic, Holub initiated a discussion about the decline in the economy and its rapidly deteriorating effect on the county.

Holub said he wanted the board to consider the possibility of funneling proceeds from the sale of used or obsolete equipment into a program to help the county?s legitimately unemployed workers.

He said both federal and state grants that county government might have used at one time to help people unemployed ?are drying up? because of funding cuts.

Marion County didn?t have ?that kind of a problem? at one time because most people worked and took care of themselves.

He emphasized that he is talking about people who want to take care of themselves, and not ?the welfare types who only want to take from others.?

Holub said, ?This problem is here. We have teachers who have kids coming to school famished because they didn?t have enough to eat at home over the weekend. I never thought I?d see a day when we had people in Marion County going hungry.?

Holub suggested that organizations in the county, such as Prairie View, might be able to help unemployed people with other marketable skills.

Holub said the hungry also include elderly citizens in Marion County. Some of them, he said, are so accustomed to being independent they will limit their diet to a can of beans for a day before they will ask for help.

Dallke said he ?somewhat agreed? with Holub, but he wouldn?t want Marion County funds used ?to help those who won?t help themselves.?

For instance, Dallke said he knows of too many Marion County landlords who have kept homes fixed up and repaired only to have persons who live off the charity of others rent them, then leave them ?torn up and filthy.?

Commission Chairman Roger Fleming said offering help to others can be ?a delicate balance.? He said he knew of one instance when a family with children was given financial assistance, and used the money to go on a ski trip. He said most of the constituents who donated the money couldn?t have afforded a ski trip.

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