Helm retires from LaRue EMS

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Fiscal Court discusses series of replacement options

By Ron Benningfield

Pat Helm, LaRue County director of emergency medical services, tendered his resignation due to retirement, effective May 31, at the fiscal court meeting May 26 at the courthouse in Hodgenville.

Tommy Turner, county judge-executive, said he has had discussions with a possible interim director for Helm, who is retiring with 27 years’ service.

“The person with whom I met is mulling over whether to take the interim job and will get back to me on it, but regardless, this person is someone that would not be seeking the position on a permanent basis,” Turner said. 

He offered four options for the magistrates to consider about the position, three of which include some changes as Helm was not only a director, but also a paramedic with the local EMS.

Turner said the first option would be to leave the position as it is, with the one person being both director and a paramedic. Helm estimated he spends 20-24 hours per week as director, the rest as a paramedic. 

The second option would be to split the position, hiring a full-time paramedic and a part-time director.

“I don’t know if we can find a person that would be willing to do the position on a part-time basis, however,” Turner said.

A third choice would be to combine the emergency medical services director position with that of emergency services, held by Clara Mae Druen.

“Since Clara Mae has gone on part-time status, and would like to be no-time status, we could look at the possibility of merging the positions and have one individual be in charge of all emergency operations,” Turner said. “I can see pluses and minuses to this and it may need some more thought.”

A fourth option would be to merge services with another provider.

“Hardin County has, in the past, expressed some interest in looking at merging the LaRue and Hardin EMS Services,” Turner said. “If we were to ever consider it, now would be the time.”

He added he didn’t know what the cost savings of such a merger would be, but said the situation could be explored to see what savings versus advantages or disadvantages “could be rendered.”

The judge referred the matter to magistrates W.L. Miller and Bryan Durham to consider and report back to the court. Turner estimated two to three months before getting another person on board.

“We’re not taking applications yet, for we don’t even know what the position will be,” he said.

In other business, Turner introduced Corey McIlvoy, a loss control specialist with the Kentucky Association of Counties insurance programs.  The judge told the court, and McIlvoy concurred, that LaRue is one of the minimal claims counties in the state. 

Turner said he wanted to take every avenue to reduce claims through safety and health procedures, so he asked McIlvoy, a health and safety expert, to study the county’s different departments.

“When I look at claims, they’re usually a good benchmark of what has gone on in the past,” McIlvoy said. “Looking at your claims, so far LaRue appears to have done an excellent job; I might have a few recommendations to include in a report that will be sent to the court.”

The specialist said claims drive premiums and told magistrates that 50 percent of insurance claims received are motor vehicle related.

Tim Brown, county road supervisor, reported crews have installed a new entrance on Slack, Maxine and Kirkpatrick roads; repaired several gravel roads and cleaned out overflows in various areas of the county after the recent “two-inch-plus” downpour.

Crews have poured concrete at a washed-out area on a bridge on Alvin Brooks Road and FEMA contractors cleaned out ice storm debris that had washed against a bridge on Goodin-Williams Road.

Turner said the debris cleanup from the January ice storm should be finalized this week. 

Miller asked Brown to repair a pothole that formed on Polley Road and to add rock and ditching along Thomas Lane.

Magistrates tentatively approved the 2010 budget.