About the Author
Mike Kanin is the Publisher of the Austin Monitor. As such, he doesn't report on much--aside from the workings of the Monitor--any more. In his previous life as a freelance journalist, Kanin has written for the Washington City Paper, the Washington Post's Express, the Boston Herald, Boston's Weekly Dig, the Austin Chronicle, and the Texas Observer.
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Levy continues to allege mismanagement at EMS agency
City of Austin and Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Service officials find themselves on the defensive as Public Safety Commission Vice Chair Mike Levy continues to level allegations about operational mismanagement at the service.
On Wednesday, Levy said that there is “a malignancy throughout the department” and repeated his concerns that without change poor management could cause degradation in patient care. In what has become a familiar theme, Levy told members of the Austin City Council’s Audit and Finance Committee that costs have “gone through the roof” and that the service suffers from low morale.
Levy also insisted that the city’s EMS partners in Travis County were “about to walk away from an interlocal that has existed since 1976 because the (City) Manager and
Deputy City Manager Michael McDonald – whose management portfolio includes Austin’s emergency services departments – flatly denied Levy’s allegations “We have not had anyone from the county call and tell me that,” he told In Fact Daily.
The conflict comes as county and city officials continue to work on redefining their
The Travis County Commissioners Court and the Austin City Council recently ratified the renewal of an interlocal agreement that will govern their relationship for at least one more year. However, the two sides continue to negotiate on a hefty set of future changes that could result in a new agreement. (See In Fact Daily, Jan. 18, 2013.)
Those changes would be informed by a cost study due mid-March. That study is set to provide officials with a new costing model for
Earlier this month, the Public Safety Commission called for an audit of the medical and administrative operations of the Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Service. That brought on concerns from Council members about the immediate availability of the office of City Auditor Ken Mory to complete that effort. (See In Fact Daily, Jan. 11, 2013.)
Both Travis and
Eckhardt also noted that city management had promised the
Such an analysis has drawn the concern of Austin-Travis County EMS Employees Association president Tony Marquardt. Earlier this month, Marquardt told Public Safety Commissioners that third-party consultants come to such studies with an agenda already in mind – one that Marquardt suggests would promote consolidation or privatization.
Levy continued to push for the audit in front of Council Audit and Finance Committee members Wednesday. He worried that the city and county partnership is at risk due to building bad blood. Though the committee did not immediately authorize an audit, they agreed to send Mory to a Public Safety Commission meeting. There, he is expected to gather input from Commissioners on what the scope of an
Council Member Laura Morrison suggested that already planned audits might cover some of the same ground as a complete audit of the service.
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