Council hears from public concerning ambulance director dismissal

The Faith City Council held a special meeting Monday, September 12th to discuss the dismissal of Ambulance Director Cindy Frankfurth with about 35 visitors in attendance. While visitors weren’t on the agenda, council opened the floor to the public for several minutes to express their concerns about the dismissal and the ambulance situation.
    Kris Escott, EMTP, was the first to take the floor with these comments:
    “I would like to take this opportunity to try to understand the termination of our ambulance director.
    I feel there is a lot of miscommunication. Last spring when Barb was calling all of the ambulance members asking us to “step up to the plate” and take more calls, I asked then about all of the council amd ambulance members sitting down at one time to work on some solutions–the council was invited to our meeting and not one council member showed up to that meeting. The only members that has came to any of our meetings is Peggy and Glen. We had an EMT class all winter and not one of you signed up. The council members that are causing the most waves have done the least to work together and come up with solutions.
    The city council is NOT a place to carry out personal vendetas! In my opinion, that is what this has been. You are elected to that council seat to do what is best for the community, and this decision has put the safety and welfare of our community and surrounding area in jeopardy. You just terminated Cindy, with no backup plan in place! And then expect the 2-3 other active members to pick up the pieces and cover the schedule 24/7. What about the run reports? Have you done them and sent them to the state (within 72 hours)? Have you contacted the state in regards to any of this? In my opinion I think it is pretty crappy that Barb comes home on weekends, stirs the pot, gets people fired (with no plan in place) then leaves and doesn’t have to take the heat or pick up the pieces.
    While I am on the schedule subject-does the council require a schedule from the city office girls, police dept, Jon and Donn or the bar? Why is one dept. being singled out? Could that be harassment?
    As far as certain people getting more hours than some–it has been the same since I have been involved with the ambulance since 2004–you come to the meetings at the end of the month and sign up on the calendar what days you want to work–Cindy doesn’t call anyone.
    It takes a lot of training hours to recertify every 2 years. We do this because we enjoy helping people, but the fighting and bickering does not make us want to continue.
    With Hoss gone where are we going to get our training hours? Someone will need to become an instructor coordinatior. No continuing ed hours–no EMTs.
    Why has Cindy lost her position as drivers license examiner also? Wages together under ambulance wages? Aren’t they 2 separate entities?
    We need to work together to make Faith a success, the ambulance and police, the clinic and ambulance–we all need to pull together instead of back stabbing. You may get an outsider to come in and take over, but they only stay for a year or two. If you have a local person with family ties here and have made Faith their home for 20+ years I feel it would be better to work with them and try to keep the experience and knowledge base here.
    The micro managing needs to stop and let people do their jobs. NOT one person in this room is perfect–we need to work with people’s strengths and weaknesses to make a good team!
    Hoss and Cindy have given 25+ years of their lives to this town. They have given up holidays with family to take calls, helped people in their time of need, etc., and this is the thanks they get! I am ashamed to be any part of it!”
    Wes Heidlebaugh, supporting Cindy, stated that there is a lot of mental stress with the job, the hours you put in, Cindy has picked up a lot of the slack and he really appreciates her.
    Carmen Fees said that Cindy and Hoss have gone above and beyond their duties. She says she can’t come in and sit for 12 hours at $1.25 hr., but is always willing to help if Cindy needs her. It’s  a shame what the Council is doing.
    Glenda McGinnis said people don’t realize how much Cindy does. She cares about the community and this is a grave injustice. She said if Cindy goes the ambulance will be done.
    Noel Fischbach supported everything Kris said in her statement. He remembers when Faith got their  first ambulance in 1972, and it has survived because of dedicated people. He said we are blessed to have Cindy, and Kris and the rest of the crew.
    About 20 other community and area members, including from Opal and Red Scaffold, presented their thoughts to council.
    Council retired into executive session at 7:25 for possible litigation, and came out again about 9:00.
    A motion was made and seconded to amend the original motion to relieve Cindy of her duties as director, as the reason for her dismissal was not in the motion, that reason being negligence, gross incompetence and failure to follow her supervisor, in this case Council. Council then went back into executive session with Cindy for a disciplinary hearing.
    While council was in this session, Atty. Bogue took a few minutes to explain to those present what was taking place and answer a few questions. Bogue stated that council had to give  Cindy a reason for their action. At the last meeting they didn’t say what the reason was, so they had to make a motion to add that portion. Bogue said following a dismissal the individual has the right to be heard and that is what they are doing at this time. He was limited as to what he could say, Cindy can tell anything she wants to but he can’t. He liked that the community came forward to make their feelings known, adding, “If you have opinions, don’t back up from them.”
    One important question asked was if council realized that without a director they could not operate. Atty. Bogue had informed council of that issue.
    Council came out of executive session and Berndt rescinded her motion to terminate Cindy. All council  members  voted in favor. Mayor Haines said, “this was a learning experience tonight and keeping the ambulance going is the best thing to happen to our town.”     
    Cindy was reinstated as Faith Ambulance Director, and congratulations were given by many present.         

The Pioneer Review

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Philip, SD 57567
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