(06/20/2001)
While the controversy regarding control of the Roane County Emergency Squad seems to be resolved, Spencer Newspapers expressed concern about he media blitz surrounding the event. Most regional TV stations and newspapers have been in Spencer these past few weeks, reporting the conflict and obtaining statements.

A female Roane County Emergency Squad member made statements about being uncomfortable over sexual issues with Executive Director Dr. Aaron Cottle.

The EMS worker, still with the squad, had "her own self-published internet site which cannot be described in a family newspaper," according to Spencer newspaper editor, David Hedges. "Uncomfortable, indeed," commented Hedges.

The woman became a media player in the controversy, after the squad's board accepted the resignation of Chief Don Smith, who held the position for 19 years. Smith says he resigned because he could no longer be in charge of day-to-day operations.

The woman and other squad members questioned whether citizens would be upset if Cottle came to pick up their children in an ambulance.

Cottle is a convicted sex offender who spent considerable time in prison, but returned to the community under strict guidelines. He was elected President of the local EMS board and was later made its Executive Director. "I am here to help this group and make sure service is delivered to Roane County," he said.

Editor Hedges said after two 911 employees and squad members resigned, at least one spoke frequently to the media knowing "full well Cottle performs only administrative functions and does not ride on any ambulances or provide any medical services at all."

The "self-promoting" internet site purports to be a competition or contest and contains a seductive photo of the woman and dozens of comments about her sexual likes and dislikes.

The Roane County Emergency Squad is currently being managed by the West Virginia EMS Technical Support Network, a 90 day contract. "We are looking for the best people to fill the slots," said Cottle. "Now we're moving on to provide emergency services to the people of Roane County."


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