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E-town man seeks state investigation of Hardin EMS

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By Marty Finley

An Elizabethtown man who previously challenged Hardin County EMS has asked a state board to investigate the department’s former director, Ira Dyer, and former assistant shift supervisor, James Miller.
Richard Leal has filed complaints against both men with the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services, asking the board to launch an independent investigation. The two men were suspended from their positions before resigning in early May.
The suspensions came in the midst of an internal investigation by Hardin County government after concerns were raised, according to Judge-Executive Harry Berry.
Berry and Hardin County Attorney Jenny Oldham have declined to discuss the details of the investigation or disclose the county’s findings.
In a letter written to Miller by Berry, the judge-executive said Miller was being terminated specifically for failing to accurately process payment requests, which included employee time sheets. Miller resigned before his termination was finalized. It is unclear why Dyer was suspended.
In his complaint, Leal says Dyer and Miller are allowed to pursue other employment in the EMS field without repercussions. He also criticized county government for not sharing the investigation results publicly.
Miller began his career with LaRue County EMS several years ago, according to Mike Cottrell, director of LCEMS.
“Jamie has been part time employee on and off for a number of years,” Cottrell told The LaRue County Herald News. “Jamie remains that, a part-time employee and he is an excellent paramedic.”
Miller does not have administrative duties with LaRue County EMS, according to Cottrell.
Leal’s statement
“Citizens must have confidence that our money is being used wisely and properly and not being stolen/wasted,” Leal wrote in a statement to The News-Enterprise. “These EMS employees are not only leaders but certified paramedics in charge of citizens’ care during emergencies and they are also responsible (for) narcotics within the ambulance. Citizens should be concerned that their honesty and reliability is gravely in question.”
Both Dyer and Miller have said they are moving on with their careers. Miller explicitly denied any wrongdoing. They have declined further comment.
Kristi Middleton, public relations manager for the state EMS board, said the agency has received Leal’s complaints and is processing them.
While she could not comment specifically on the matter, she said complaints filed with the board are assigned to an investigator. The complaint and an investigator’s findings later are reviewed by a preliminary inquiry board, Middleton said. The board could review the complaint later this summer, although no meeting date has been set, she said.
Berry said Leal has a right to file a complaint and the board has an obligation to take complaints seriously, even if there is no basis for them. At the same time, Berry said he cannot imagine the board has any authority over a personnel matter at the county level.
Leal previously filed a complaint with the state board against Hardin County EMS, saying his daughter, Lizbeth, was injured when an EMT carried her over his shoulder into an ambulance. The department agreed to institute new training procedures and the case was resolved.
Leal also filed an ethics complaint against Oldham, saying she mishandled county resources. The Hardin County Board of Ethics terminated the complaint after it found no violation.
Leal said he is not trying to demonize Hardin County EMS, but he believes taxpayers deserve answers.
Editor Linda Ireland contributed to this story.