EMS executive director post finalists narrowed to four

Gary B. Gray • Nov 29, 2012 at 10:30 PM

The number of candidates for Washington County/Johnson City EMS’s new executive director was narrowed Tuesday from 60 to four in a screening process headed on the front end by the state’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service.

Two of the four finalists are in-house candidates. Brad Gerfin has worked with the agency since 1998. He is serving as interim executive director and is the former operations director. Dan Wheeley has been with the agency since 1999. The captain is serving as the interim operations director.

Out-of-state candidates include Allen Sims of Spring, Texas, who is the EMS director for the Montgomery County (Texas) County Hospital District, and Mark English of Harrison, Pa., a paramedic and rescue specialist.

MTAS Municipal Management Consultant Pat Hardy met with City Manager Pete Peterson and Washington County Mayor Dan Eldridge to narrow the list of candidates from around the nation.

“We met with him Tuesday,” Eldridge said Thursday. “He reported to us that he had more than 60 qualified responses, and to me, that’s a very positive thing. The gist of it is, we now have a short list of four candidates. At this point, (Hardy) will schedule face-to-face interviews, and out hope is to make a recommendation to the full board in December.”

Though MTAS, Eldridge and Peterson are tasked with narrowing the list, the final decision will be made by the Washington County-Johnson City Emergency Medical Services Board of Directors.

The opening is posted on the MTAS and Johnson City websites and indicates the salary ranges from the “low $70s and moves up depending on qualifications.” The director is responsible for all EMS operations including administration of 114 full-time employees and a $10 million budget. The successful candidate must have at least five years in an EMS supervisory and management role and must be EMS licensed in Tennessee or obtain a license within three months.

The Oct. 4 job posting came 22 days before former Executive Director Allen Taylor retired Oct. 26 after 39 years of service with that entity in six different positions beginning when he returned from Vietnam. Taylor, who served 15 years as director, said one of his biggest accomplishments was getting the new EMS headquarters built on Wesley Road.

He said he hopes to see EMS continue with its success. Though there has been a national search for his replacement, he said the next director could come from within the department and be one of the well-qualified staff already in line for the job.

EMS receives about 45,000 calls for service annually, and the new executive director will be responsible for the selection of equipment and vehicles and for assuring that EMS personnel are properly trained in emergency medical care services.

The work is done under the general supervision of the EMS board of directors, by review of records, reports, board meetings regarding the overall effectiveness of the program.

WC/JC EMS provides emergency medical and rescue services utilizing nine primary ambulances, eight rescue units, three convalescent ambulances and five additional convalescent ambulances located at four Johnson City sites, Gray, Telford, Boones Creek, Veterans Administration Transport, Lamar, Fall Branch, Jonesborough, South Central and Limestone.

WC/JC EMS also has a Dive Rescue and Recovery Team, specially trained paramedics in tactical medicine as well as advanced SWAT tactician schools. These paramedics train and respond with the Johnson City Police Department’s SWAT team and are responsible as the on scene care providers during a tactical evolution.

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