“There’s only one answer and that’s Little Hocking E.M.S.”

Belpre Township Trustees discuss daytime E.M.S. contract negotiations
WTAP News @ 11
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 10:02 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 8, 2022 at 10:52 PM EDT
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The Belpre Township Trustees held an informational meeting Monday at 3:30 P.M. at the Washington County Courthouse.

The meeting was called by the Little Hocking Volunteer Fire Department to discuss contract negations for daytime E.M.S service.

A levee passed in May 2021 with the intent to provide pay to daytime EMS services.

According to both sides, contract negotiations have been taking place between the fire department and the Belpre Township Trustees.

In a statement from the fire department’s legal council, a plan was agreed upon by both sides in May 2022.

The plan was submitted to the Ohio Ethics Commission due to concerns.

In June 2022, the Commission ruled that the plan was unethical since the fire volunteers would be Belpre Township employees and get paid as EMS staff under the negotiated plan.

It was said that the trustees were considering proposals from outside parties.

Many people were heard during the meeting, including members of the Belpre Trustees, Little Hocking Volunteer Fire Department, and community members.

The Fire Departments council, Joe Durham said, “...When we got to June, you had proposed a contract to us. There were some things that needed to be negotiated, and then we had this Ethics Commission decision and threw a wrench in it and it delayed it; but all that stuff is before. We had a proposal when we were close. So I’m just saying, give us one more chance. Let’s take a shot at it.”

The Trustees said that one of the reasons they opened up to outside proposals is because there has been so much back and forth.

Committee member Asa Boring said, “Every little while things change. It seems like every time we get close to an agreement it gets changed.”

Community members spoke on behalf of the department and were upset the idea of the services going to outside groups.

Many who spoke said they voted to pass the levee specifically to keep the services with the little hocking volunteer fire department with one man in the crowd saying, “There’s only one answer and that’s Little Hocking EMS!”

Due to limited time, speaking was held to a minimum. The trustees did not agree to stop accepting outside proposals, but did agree to not make any decisions until a full re-negotiation between the fire department and the trustees was done at their next meeting.

The next meeting is set for August 29th at 2:00.

The time and location may be changed due to scheduling conflicts with the legal teams.

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