Boise City councilors worked on “strategic planning” Thursday, engaging in some give-and-take with department heads to exchange ideas and goals and offer direction from the council.
If that sounds like “corporate speak” with the young and restless bouncing their dreams off the board of directors, you got the picture.
The meetings are open to the public, but the players and the audience are about 98% city employees, including the top brass of the departments and union leaders portecting their turf.
Our interest was the ongoing (rift, rivalry, clash, operation, situation–you decide) between the Boise Fire Department and Ada County Emergency Medical Services. From the outset it was clear Fire Chief Dennis Doan was presenting a “business plan” with lots of numbers from the county budget and select comparasions of statewide ambulance services and patient fees–Ada County is by far the most expensive, but they collect only 30% from tax revenues.
While Doan didn’t come right out and say, “There is money to be made here and we want some of it,” he counched his powerpoint presentation in terms of , “council should be aware of the finances and billing of ACEMS.” He wants to go into the ambulance business.
However the council, to its credit, offered a much more moderate approach and suggested that BFD had the cart before the horse. Council said the FD needed to work on issues of “professional services” agreements, joint medical protocol so FD and EMS have same medica advice and rules from same emergency docs (each has its own advisor currently), incident command rules at emergency scenes, and joint training.
Councilor David Eberele opined it would be 2011 at the earliest before the council should seriously consider ambulance service run by Boise City. By in large the councilors were not aware (until GUARDIAN reports were posted in August) exactly how far the enthusiastic chief had gone with regard to ambulance plans, including application for a state license, sending out bid requests for an ambulance and related equipment, and plans to take over a good portion of EMS coverage within the city. A lot of time, effort and money were spent on the project which appears now to officially be on ”hold.”
To insure more advertising-free Boise Guardian news, please consider financial support.