Marion Co. EMS Director resigns again

The Marion County Commission accepted the resignation of EMS director Ed Debesis and unanimously approved having a special question on the Nov. 6 ballot during its meeting at its Aug. 30 meeting.

“I am resigning my position as EMS director effective Sept. 20,” Debesis said. “I’ve accepted a position elsewhere.”

Commissioner Randy Dallke said, “thank you,” to Debesis.

“I won’t do what I did last time because that was a ‘spur of the moment situation,’ which you had last time,” he said.

“You’ve taken Marion County from disarray,” Dallke said, “and put it in order and where we have outstanding reports, people, and the public tells us, ‘thank you.’”

Commissioner Kent Becker also thanked Debesis.

“I remembered what a problem we were in and I believe we have very good service now,” Becker said.

Commission chairwoman Dianne Novak said she wished Debesis and his family the very best.

Second resignation

In mid-March, Debesis tendered his resignation when commissioners were not in agreement regarding his hiring more people to fill positions in the service.

At that time, Dallke asked Debesis where the cap on the number of people was.

“Will two more people take care of all the voids and maintain what we have today?” he asked.

Debesis said that wouldn’t be enough, adding that there’s still a volunteer service with people getting up in age.

“We either shut them down (the volunteers) and that’s an option, or you want to maintain them,” he said.

After presenting his resignation letter March 19, the matter was briefly discussed on March 23, and March 26.

When Debesis refused to rescind his March 19 resignation, Novak said, at a meeting April 2 that it was her position Debesis’ last day would be June 1.

Debesis later rescinded his resignation, but Dallke said Monday’s resignation was thought out.

Debesis also spoke about suction canisters and expiration date.

“In 25 years of doing this job, I haven’t had this happen, but it’s fixed,” he said.

If the suction canister passed its expiration, there could be the possibility of implosion.

Five-member commission

County clerk Tina Spencer said she wanted to impart some information regarding the special question related to a five-member commission.

Prior to Spencer introducing a resolution, which passed unanimously in favor of adding the special question to the Nov. 6 ballot, Dallke offered some comments.

“I find it quite amazing that this was never discussed before the primary election,” he said. “I feel and have seen a lot of spite in the last couple of years.”

In addition, Dallke speculated that if Becker hadn’t won the primary, he wondered if this would have even been addressed.

“There’s been a lot of people in a lot of different areas clear up north and clear down south discussing the five-member board,” he said.

“And, it seems to have been brought up since this election. I don’t like spite.”

Boiling it down into its simplest form, Dallke said, if it’s a three-member board than two commissioners control the vote, and if it’s a five-member board, than three people control the vote.

Novak said she thinks the advantage of a five-member board as opposed to three-member board is the experience two more people can bring to the table.

“More people means more experience, more conversation and more knowledge,” she said.

“I also think this would be working toward a better future,” she said. “Personally, I just don’t see any disadvantages.”

Becker said he is OK with the process.

“In my opinion, it’s all about the voters,” he said, “and I think we should let them decide.”

The question

Spencer read the resolution and special question, which stated:

Shall the following be adopted? Shall the board of Marion County Commissioners change the number of county commission districts from three county commission districts to five county commission districts?

Novak said she thought the response was awesome when circulating the petition.

“People are all for it, and it’s better than I ever expected,” she said about the petition.

In other business, the commission:

◼ heard from Jesse Hamm, Road and Bridge supervisor, regarding about four miles of road west of the Tampa Road cracking up. Becker said he thought an engineer should be available when the repair work is being done.

◼ Novak asked Hamm about mowing and how sunflowers are all over the county. Hamm said he is needing short staff and mowing equipment, but Novak suggested hiring someone just for the mowing portion.

Novak asked for a special session regarding roads, but was met with some resistance by Becker and Dallke, who both said they didn’t want this road session to be a reason for people to gang up on Hamm.

Dallke said he supports the road and bridge department, and Becker said he has no problem hearing people discuss issues, but is afraid that without specific topic it could evolve into a mess.

Novak said: “The roads in the First District are despicable.”

Hamm said he knows his “blade men” have been out of the section Novak is referring to for at least two to three months, but said he has a game plan.

“These are not unreasonable people,” Novak said about having a work session.

◼ listened as Clint Seibel, chairman of the Marion County Community Economic Development Corp. talked about two options to include the county being in complete control with MCCEDC serving as advisors or “stay the course” and the county delegate matters to MCCEDC.

Novak said one of her concerns is that there’s been no effort to get the stakeholders back (Marion and Hillsboro).

“This is supposed to be community funded,” she said.

Although Seibel agreed with Novak that due diligence is a good thing, he also wanted to see the commission move ahead.

Becker said he was in favor of the second option, which would be to give control to the group, but the county would make the director and administrative assistant county employees with a benefit package.

The vote was 2-1 with Novak casting a “no” vote.

Dallke asked about the city of Marion, and if they are still a possible stakeholder.

Seibel said they have some questions, and are in continuous talks with the city of Marion, adding that, “we have good reason to believe they could come back (to MCCEDC).”

◼ learned Novak said she would like to nominate Lloyd Meiers as David Mueller’s replacement on the board.

Dallke said he wants to vote, but added that if something happens that somebody is not under their full level of abilities and comes to a meeting, he said he would have a “real problem.”

Dallke said: “I would like to vote yes for this person, but at the same time if this person shows up at board meetings and doesn’t function well…”

Before Dallke could finish, Novak said she wanted to withdraw the motion.

“If you think this person is mentally incapable,” she said, “I want to withdraw my motion until I have a chance to talk with him.”