Letter About The Joint Meeting Of The Public Hospital District And Fire District 3


Something shameful happened Tuesday afternoon. 

The San Juan County Public Hospital District Commissioners (PHD) and the San Juan County Fire District 3 (FD3) Commissioners held a virtual joint public meeting to discuss the possibility of resuming discussion of integrating San Juan Island Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and FD3.

The meeting was progressing with some friction.  About 70 minutes into the meeting Fire Commissioner Frank Cardinale apparently believed that PHD Commissioner Lindstrum had rolled her eyes at something another fire commissioner had said. Under his breath, but not far enough under, he said, “Roll the eyes, you bitch.”  Hospital Commissioner Lehman reacted with outrage, as did other hospital commissioners. The meeting ended abruptly after that. Commissioner Cardinale did not apologize. FD3 chairman Jarman did apologize on behalf of the fire commission but only after all of the PHD commissioners had signed off.

That an elected official, in a public meeting in San Juan County felt free to express such disrespect and misogyny is, in fact, outrageous. This comes just a few weeks after Fire Chief Collins had an interview in the Journal in which he displayed disturbing arrogance about integration and considerable disrespect toward the hospital commissioners.

The message here is pretty clear, I think. FD3 is not a place where we taxpayers and residents of the hospital district should want to see our Emergency Medical Service located. This is especially true because 80 percent of the emergency calls in the district are medical calls. Only 20 percent are fire calls. We need a first class emergency medical unit and we won’t get it under this fire district.

The Public Hospital District needs to focus on turning an already good EMS into an excellent EMS. That means defining a clear mission, vision and goals, and the metrics to evaluate their progress in meeting those goals, including better response times. We have the commissioners in place who are capable of doing that.  That’s where they need to direct their focus and their energies.

(The meeting was recorded and can be found on the PHD website at https://sjcphd.org/meeting/2020mtgs#Jul20.)

Richard Grout
San Juan Island     

Posted on July 29, 2020 at 5:31 pm by

Categories: Around Here, Community, Letters

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