CALHOUN COMMISSION SEEKING AUDIT OF DEFUNCT CALHOUN EMERGENCY AMBULANCE SERVICES - Disposition Of Assets Called Troubling

(12/14/2013)

The Calhoun Commission will be requesting that Prosecutor Shannon Jones prepare and advertise for bids for an audit of the former Calhoun County Emergency Ambulance Service.

That audit would include a review of agency actions since their closure earlier this year, including the distribution of equipment, collection of money owed the agency and how it has been paid to creditors.

"The commission, while requesting federal and state investigations of the agency, is continuing to work on accountability questions," said commission president Kevin Helmick.

The federal investigation request is linked to the agency receiving Medicare and Medicaid payments.

The WV State Police and the WV Attorney Generals office has advised the commission they should do an audit before their investigations move forward.

Commissioner Chip Westfall said Patty Wilmoth, EMS board president, and a law firm hired by EMS, has not been forthcoming with accountability questions asked by the commission.

"Their attorney did not respond," Westfall said, "It is truly a concern."

Alvin Engleke, speaking to the commission this week as a taxpayer in Calhoun County and as a member of the Little Kanawha Economic Development Authority, asked the commission to file a formal letter with the United States Department of Agriculture regarding Calhoun EMS's disposition of an ambulance purchased with USDA funds.

"I'm going to stick my neck out to see the questions are resolved," said Engleke.

The commissioners agreed to file such a letter.

Commissioners have received numerous complaints regarding the assets of Calhoun EMS, said commissioner Bob Weaver, calling the stance of Calhoun EMS prior to their closure and since "very troubling."

A member of the now three member EMS board, advised the commission that board members have not played an accountability role in foreclosure of the agency, and that board president Patty Wilmoth would not answer phone calls regarding the matter.

Commission President Kevin Helmick acknowledged that Calhoun EMS owes the county taxpayers (commission) money. The commission loaned them money to buy equipment to save them interest fees.

"We made the loan which would have helped county residents," Helmick said.

"While they made a few payments, they pretended in a report they were paying it back," said commissioner Weaver.

The commission, at this week's meeting, approved precinct workers for the February 1, 2014 renewal of the levy for Emergency and Criminal Justice services for the county.

The levy, renewed every five years, does not raise taxes.

The commission approved the Night Sky grant application for Calhoun Park and approved the audit presented by the Calhoun County Library.

911 Director Kathy Wood reported 911 received a record 272 emergency calls in November.


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