City votes to hire five paramedics

Published 11:24 am Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The City of Winchester’s experiment with single-role paramedics paid off, as Winchester Fire-EMS is now fully staffed again with medics.

A couple months ago, the city’s fire department, which provides emergency medical services for all of Clark County, was functioning with four full-time paramedics, less than half of the city’s nine positions. Traditionally, the department required all employees to be certified as firefighters and as an EMT or paramedic. In light of a state-wide shortage of paramedics, the department and city decided to create a single-role paramedic position, eliminating the firefighting requirement.

Tuesday morning, the Winchester Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to hire five paramedics, which leaves the department with nine, one paramedic per 24-hour shift for each of the city’s three fire stations.

“This is great,” Winchester Fire-EMS Chief Cathy Rigney said. “We had 10 applicants and got five out of them. Hopefully, we’re on the right track.”

Even earlier, the city voted to increase pay for part-time EMTs and paramedics in hopes of attracting more applicants to staff the city’s ambulances.

Rigney said the new hires, which include a couple of the city’s part-time paramedics and some from neighboring counties, will go through a couple weeks of training before taking their first shift on a truck.

The city also approved to cover up to $15,000 of operating expenses for Leeds Center for the Arts while the 91-year-old theater is closed for renovations. The commissioners previously settled on the amount, which will cover expenses through April 2017. Leeds officials must submit invoices for reimbursable expenses.

In other action, the commissioners:

— approved an easement along Mount Sterling Road with J&W Farms to continue the Lykins Park Walking Trail for $5,118.

— designed commissioner Shannon Cox as mayor pro tem.

— reappointed J. R. Wilhite and Mark Arnold to the Winchester Historic Preservation Commission fora three year term.

— reappointed Gerald Tackett to a three year term on the Administrative Hearing Board.

— reappointed John Paynter to a three-year term on the Winchester Board of Ethics.

— reappointed Roy Hudson and David Lawrence to one-year terms on the Winchester Licensing Board.

— reappointed Wayne Estes and appointed Sue Anderson to four-year terms on the Winchester Tree Board.

— reappointed Beverly Ackerman, Joy Curtis, Flora Shelby, Vaughn E. Jones, Rhonda Simmons and Teresa Hopewell and appointed Cicely Dore to two-year terms on the Municipal Cemetery Board.

— reappointed Carlean Hefner to a four-year term on the Winchester-Clark County Industrial Development Authority.

—reappointed Charles Embry to a four-year term on the Housing Authority of Winchester.

— reappointed Lewis Willan to a four-year term on the Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation Board.

— reappointed Shannon Cox and Rick Beach to two-year terms on the Winchester-Clark County Revenue Sharing Committee.

— appointed Kenny Book and Kitty Strode to two-year terms on the Public Works committee.

— appointed Kenny Book to a two-year term on the Generations Center board of directors.

— appointed Shannon Cox to a two-year term on the Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation board.

— appointed Rick Beach to a two-year term on the Winchester-Clark County Heritage Commission.

— approved a change order for the Maple Street sewer improvement project.

— approved a bid for hydraulic rescue tools for Winchester Fire-EMS.

— approved a change order for the fiscal year 2017 crack sealing program.

— approved an amendment to a lease agreement with Catalent Pharma Solutions for industrial revenue bonds. One parcel of property was omitted from the original documents.

— approved an agreement for software for Winchester Fire-EMS.

— accepted the retirement of firefighter II/EMT Matt Brinegar and engineering technician Joe Tincher.

— accepted the resignations of firefighter I Jesse Smith and communications officer II Dreama Southerland.

— hired Michael Anderson, Geoffrey Breeden, James C. Brown, Natalie A. McClain and Heather L. Walters as single-role paramedics.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@bluegrassnewsmedia.com or call 859-759-0051.

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