EMS Request for Proposals
Columbia County doesn't get it - again
Columbia County, FL
(posted March 23, 2010 11:55 pm)
At the March 4, 2010 County Commission meeting,
County Chairman, Ronald Williams, who has for years
complained at every opportunity about the County's
mistreatment by the City regarding the City's non
contribution to EMS, joined with the top county
management in collectively failing to prepare a complete
agenda for the County Commission meeting, leaving off a
very important item.
Only two weeks before, at the joint city-county sit
down, at the suggestion of Lake City Manager, Wendell
Johnson, it was decided to form a selection committee to
review the EMS Request for Proposals (RFP) that City
Manager Johnson was preparing. This RFP was to set the
parameters for a fair and impartial investigation of the
city-county EMS controversy and to suggest a solution.
The EMS committee after approving the RFP is to make a
selection from the responding firms.
At stake is the solution to this long simmering
problem, which has caused nothing but hard feelings
between the city and the county and has a collective
monetary value, which is thought by some on the county
side of the street to be around $750,000. Lake City does
not share this sentiment.
March 4th, one hour and fourteen minutes into the County
Commission meeting, County Manager, Dale Williams
thought to tell the Board that he had left something off
the agenda. This is standard operating procedure for
Columbia County. This time it was the important
appointment of a citizen to the EMS Review Committee,
which both the city and the county were to make.
Dale Williams told the County Commission, "We need to
designate the Board's citizen representative appointee."
The County Selection
No one on the Board appeared to know what was going
County Commission Chairman Ronald Williams
immediately appointed Commissioner Dewey Weaver and
after cross talk and laughter they realized that
Commissioner Weaver was not the citizen representative
that the County Manager had in mind.
out of the blue, Jack Berry protégé, District III
Commissioner, Jody DuPree, said, "The new - the new
Chamber director. It would be a good experience for
There was more giggling from the Board and the
audience. The Chamber Director, Ms. Denille Folsome
looked shocked and embarrassed.
When Chairman Williams asked her if she would accept
the appointment, Ms. Folsome, not being experienced in
the controversy, agreed that it would be best to check
with her board before taking the appointment.
Chairman Williams, looking out into the audience, saw
someone he knew and said, "Mr. Hall, would you accept
Mr. Hall said, "I would take it."
Chairman Williams: "All right, we got our
citizen right there."
Com DuPree: "He's a politician already."
At the conclusion of the meeting Mr. Hall walked over
to County Manager, Dale Williams and told him he didn't
know anything about the EMS issue. The county manager
told him not to worry about it and he would tell him
what he needed to know.
The City Selection
Lake City, as its citizen representative chose former
city councilman, Mike Lee.
Mr. Lee had been involved in many fire related
negotiations and was well educated and informed on the
This past Friday, the Observer asked City Manager
Johnson: "Do you think this is an important assignment
and should the individual appointed to review the firms
have some idea about the history of the issues?"
Lake City's straight talking City Manager emailed
role of the Committee members should be viewed by all as
a very important assignment and responsibility.
First, this Committee is poised to amicably resolve a
long-standing “difference of opinion” between the County
and City governments regarding EMS services. It is
easy to assume that this dispute has probably
contributed to a lack of success in making joint
city/county decisions on other matters as well.
Second, the process that the County and City have
agreed to in allowing this Joint-Committee approach and
the services of an independent consultant “should”
provide for a fair and impartial result in determining
the equitable cost share and funding source for County
provision of City EMS.
Finally, the Committee has the opportunity to carry
out this assignment as a “giant” step in the direction
of “positive” intergovernmental cooperation.
I believe that it is clearly advantageous for a
Committee member to have knowledge of the EMS issue;
hence, you will see a background section in the
RFP. This brief history is also intended to help
potential consultants to better understand the issue.
I know that Dale, Marlin, and Mr. Darby have a strong
understanding of the issue.
As a former Councilmember, no doubt Mike Lee has a
broad understanding as well and the Mayor’s decision to
appoint him was wise indeed.