HomeOpinionEditorialsEditorial: EMS service debacle could have been avoided

Editorial: EMS service debacle could have been avoided



The state public health department has been forced to step in and assign the EMS zone to Augusta. Now, the Augusta Commission is going to have to negotiate a contract with Central EMS and, let’s make it clear, Central is in the catbird seat in these negotiations.

Central EMS can ask for any subsidy amount, and the city may have to pay the fee proposed to avoid a crisis where Augusta has no reliable ambulance service.

None of this had to happen.

Gold Cross EMS, under political pressure, gave up the zone to allow for the city to apply and take over the zone. However, the city never filed the proper paperwork.

It is our understanding that even if Augusta had submitted an incomplete application, it would have likely been approved. Georgia is a state that believes in “home rule” and likely would have approved giving the city the power to enter into a contract with the EMS provider of its choice, but the application was never filed.

Instead, the bloc on the commission that has waffled, wavered and waxed un-eloquently for two years about Gold Cross EMS, has also been maneuvering behind the scenes to direct city employees to either exceed their authority or not do their jobs at all.

While Procurement Department Director Geri Sams won’t comment publicly, we all know that someone on the commission directed her to bid out the ambulance contract when a month-to-month agreement with Gold Cross was in place.

It is also clear that either someone on the commission gave the interim City Administrator Takiyah Douse and City Attorney Wayne Brown conflicting information, causing them to not file the zone application on time, or the pair failed to do it out of sheer incompetence and should be fired.

Keep in mind that none of this would have occurred if the mayor were allowed to vote.

In fact, it is more critical now than ever before that the mayor be given a vote on city business as currently the obstructionists on the commission have the run of the show even though they are of the minority opinions on most matters. 

Not only can Commissioner Bobby Williams and his cohort impede progress by abstaining, Commissioner Stacy Pulliam has wasted no time since she was sworn in proving that she believes she runs the government.

Pulliam went and pulled a 30 year old contract, parsed the language in the contract and recruited the city attorney to help her argue a case that the Augusta Rowing Club should be held responsible for nearly $3 million repairs on the Boathouse at the Marina.

Meanwhile, the award winning rowing club has no place to properly store their boats, but Pulliam could not care less, she is more interested in preaching diversity and inclusion and protecting sacred cows such as Recreation Department Director Maurice McDowell who has fallen down on the job more than once.

The time has come. There is a new mayor in town who is fiscally conservative and financially smart. It is time to give Garnett Johnson a vote and put an end to the crisis’ caused by people who think the public arena is their private playground.

Comment Policy

The Augusta Press encourages and welcomes reader comments; however, we request this be done in a respectful manner, and we retain the discretion to determine which comments violate our comment policy. We also reserve the right to hide, remove and/or not allow your comments to be posted. 

The types of comments not allowed on our site include: 

  • Threats of harm or violence 
  • Profanity, obscenity, or vulgarity, including images of or links to such material 
  • Racist comments  
  • Victim shaming and/or blaming 
  • Name calling and/or personal attacks; 
  • Comments whose main purpose are to sell a product or promote commercial websites or services; 
  • Comments that infringe on copyrights; 
  • Spam comments, such as the same comment posted repeatedly on a profile. 


    • The members of our commission seem to all have a different agenda. And letting the mayor have a vote might upset their agendas. The consolidation has been a disaster as it turns out. I regret voting for the consolidation. We are a second-class community because of the actions of our idiot commissioners.

    • Sorry Moses, they have stated FACT. I was there when Commissioner Pulliam abstained, and Commissioner Williams bragged that “I can vote NO, since she has already abstained”. There was NEVER, any verifiable proof, of slow response times, and even if there was, there was no contract in place to hold anyone accountable — A MOU is NOT a binding contract.

  1. My advice is to either attend the commission meetings in person or watch them online, instead of relying upon hearsay. You’ll have a completely different perspective. Always go to the source.

    • Been there. Done that. Could not tolerate the BS, political posturing, abstained, absent, and incorrect votes, and the use of Robert’s Rules of Order to impede progress and stifle dissent. Aptly described by some TAP readers as a circus clown show.

  2. Please stay neutral on all matters and report the facts. This article is misguided and partial to one side. I wish there would be a competent investigative report about both sides of the EMS issue. Get on the ground and actually talk to the workers involved. Or maybe get out of the office and do a ride along. You might open your eyes to what’s really going on.

    • An editorial is an opinion piece which most often represents the views of the publisher, kenneth. Your request for an objective story would be properly called an article. If I were a betting person, I’d wager that many reporters in the area and outside are working on articles about this very subject right now.
      I understand the views expressed in the editorial are opinions; thus, neither I nor any other intelligent person reading the editorial would presume to be getting the whole or impartial story. That said, heads should roll at Gold across for ever believing the RC commissioners would ever play fairly or competently. I don’t hold RC accountable for their screwups: it seems that their entire business model is predicated on making stupid decisions, so I see this debacle as perfectly normal and expected.
      Good luck, denizens of RC, as you witness the great flushing of good governance from a bowl vantage point.

      • Editorials, articles and any other piece written about this issue has been opinion based. I have yet to see anyone write about the facts of actually search them out. I’m skeptical that this will happen at any point. All the information is public if you know where to look. Time will tell!!

        • I am pretty sure you will find a bunch of non-opinion pieces on TAP related to this issue just based on facts. You will find opinion pieces also but they are marked as opinion/editorial. An editorial is never written unless there is an underlying news story written first that is not opinion based.

          • Agree to disagree. I feel most articles on TAP are very good. This issue could be dug into a little deeper on both sides.

    • I DID. I HAVE. I have sat down, had a frank discussion with a former Gold Cross Paramedic who was stationed at a Richmond County Fire Department station. Well he was, before the Gold Cross personnel were ousted from the sations. I DID complete ride-alongs with Gold Cross, as part of my First Responder training. In my pre-retirement line of work, I was never able to just accept “face value”. Is Gold Cross perfect ? Nope. Will Central EMS be perfect ? Nope. We will all see what the subsidy figure will be, tomorrow at 1 PM, IF Central is ready with a number, and they may not be.

  3. If anything should change other than the mayors voting abilities, it’s the use of abstaining. They should have to provide valid conflict of interest to abstain, not simply to gerrymander the proceedings.

Recent posts