It was history in the making on Monday night, and Gonzales residents will be better off for a long time because of it.
At a special meeting involving the Emergency Service District (ESD) management board and the Gonzales Emergency Medical Services (EMS) board of directors, it was decided to combine both entities under one umbrella in order to provide better services, better financial integrity and accountability and better leadership moving forward. By doing so, it will make Gonzales County the premier provider of medical emergency services in the area.
At the meeting in the EMS training room on Monday, both entities agreed to come under the management of the ESD board. All resources, equipment, finances, property and cash will be pooled to create greater economies of scale and to provide far broader and more quality up-to-date services that have not been provided recently.
By combining the two entities, the new entity will have greater access to more revenue, more opportunities for grants for real and personal property and more ways to better serve the residents of Gonzales County and even surrounding counties that touch Gonzales’ border.
“This is an exciting time,” said Dr. Commie Hisey who serves on the board. “To think not long ago we were in the red, there was a substantial need for modernized equipment, there was no oversight and we were about to go under as an organization. Now, we are solvent and so many great things are about to happen.”
“It’s one of the most miraculous turnarounds I’ve ever been associated with,” said Rene de la Garza, chairman of ESD board. “I’m absolutely ecstatic that we were able to work hard, work together and turn this thing around. We’ve come a long, long way in the past two years.”
Allen Linebrink, who is in charge of the day-to-day operations of EMS, was thrilled.
“I’m extremely happy today—this is great for the public and a real big help for the staff,” Linebrink said after the historic vote. “I remember when we were talking bankruptcy not long ago but with lots of hard work, dedication to the job and a goal of helping the public, it got done. I’m really proud of what took place here tonight.”
The benefits of the merger will be almost as immediate as they are stunning. Here are some of the things this board has been able to accomplish and set in motion:
“It’s remarkable isn’t it?” asked a quietly smiling Donald Rihn afterwards. “It took us a little while, but we did it.”