With the passage of new bylaws at the Gonzales County Emergency Medical Services and Rescue board meeting July 16, the board has shrunk from 11 members to three. The move, described by the EMS’s future executive director Eddie Callender Jr. as a “milestone,” was an important step in the ongoing Gonzales County Emergency Services District No. 1 merger with the EMS.
“The whole point of this three-member board is not only to transition us over to the ESD being taken care of, but then this board will have to stay in place for a period of time even after the ESD then takes it over because the collection agency is still going to be having bills and things that is the responsibility of the EMS board. So, it has to stay in existence to keep and finish paying all those bills,” ESD board member Dr. Commie Hisey said at the ESD board meeting July 11. “So, that board will not be dissolved until every last bill is paid.”
Due to legal restrictions, the ESD, a government entity, cannot outright absorb the debts of the EMS, a private entity. On top of ensuring the continued payment of the EMS’s bills and that former EMS board members continue receiving liability coverage, the smaller board composition should expediate the merger process between the two groups. The ESD maintains that nothing, including bill payment, liability coverage or personnel, will change with the day-to-day operations of the EMS.
“Our goal is to continue to improve the EMS.” Hisey said. “We got great guys working there. We want to continue the same service this EMS is running. The only purpose of these bylaw changes that we’re requesting from the EMS board is simply to pairing it down from 11 to three, and then business will continue as usual.”
Callender Jr. noted the ESD was “98 percent finished” with the state licensure application and that they hope to send the application sometime next week. Callender Jr. said the ESD has acquired all of the regularly required items for state licensure: an ambulance, which they are in the process of insuring, a stretcher and a heart monitor.
Once the application is submitted, the state has 60 days to decide to approve or deny license application. If it is denied, the ESD will have 30 days to correct whatever issue.
The new EMS board will now be comprised of two representatives from the ESD—board members Hisey and Johnnie Hall—and one still to be determined from the formerly comprised EMS board. According to the newly passed bylaws, the ESD must appoint the third member, however the ESD are working with the EMS board on selecting that member.
There is no agenda item that specifically states the ESD will appoint the third member at its meeting July 18. However, the ESD board will discuss and possibly act on the results of the July 16 EMS meeting, leaving open that possibility. The ESD board meets next at 4 p.m. July 18 at the Gonzales County Courthouse 414 St. Joseph Street, Gonzales, Texas.