New manager hopes to keep EDA running smoothly
Tim Stahl says ambulances are posting 24 hours in Exeter, Lindsay and Lemon Cove, hopes to bring Farmersville on half day and possibly add basic life support response unit for Three Rivers
By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN
EXETER – Exeter District Ambulance is hoping its third manager this year will finally be the change needed to move on from what is seemingly a constant state of calamity.
The Exeter District Ambulance (EDA) board selected Tim Stahl from a short list of candidates in October and Stahl officially began his tenure as district manager on Oct. 25. Stahl brings 22 years of EMS experience following a 10-year career in the Marine Corps. He previously worked as a paramedic for the Delano Ambulance in Kern County prior to taking a position with tax-funded ambulance district in July.
“I think things are headed in the right direction but it can’t all be fixed overnight,” Stahl said.
Stahl began his tenure by fixing the district’s broken down ambulances. He said the district now has crews posting in Exeter, Lemon Cove and Lindsay for 24 hours every day. He added the district has a fourth ambulance that is also operational but does not have the paramedics to staff it at this time. After filling vacant positions, Stahl said the fourth ambulance will split the day posting in both Farmersville and Exeter.
“We don’t have any trouble meeting our response times to Farmersville right now, but having a post in Farmersville would help us to get to calls in east Visalia even faster,” Stahl said.
Stahl also has plans to improve service to Three Rivers. He said EDA is meeting its response times to calls in Three Rivers but improving those times is always on his mind. He said one idea would be to put one paramedic in a converted SUV to respond to basic life support calls, those that are non-life threatening calls, such as broken bones. He said the SUV could respond to rural areas like Three Rivers directly from Exeter without having to be rerouted from other calls. Upon arrival, the paramedic could begin on-scene treatment to stabilize the patient while an ambulance makes it way, possibly from as far away as Visalia.
“It’s something we are looking at because we run a lot of those calls,” Stahl said.
Stahl, who is EDA’s third district manager this year and the fourth in three years, replaces T.J. Fischer who served as interim district manager from February through September. Fischer replaced Kim Damico who was placed on paid administrative leave on Jan. 30 after serving just shy of two years as district manager.
The ambulance district will also have some changes to the board as well. Darinda Kunkel, who was appointed in 2016, has resigned with an effective date of Dec. 20. According to Stahl, the board member moved out of the district boundaries. That leaves embattled Board member Tony Miller and Board member Adam Pfenning. With just two members, the EDA board will be unable to hold a public meeting due to lack of quorum. That means that Supervisor Kuyler Crocker will need to nominate someone to be appointed by the Tulare County Board of Supervisors. Crocker said the earliest the Board could vote on the appointment is Jan. 9 because Kunkel’s resignation took effect the day after the Supervisors’ last meeting in December and the Supervisors cancelled the first meeting on Jan. 2 due to the New Year’s holiday.
“I have a list of names of individuals I hope to nominate,” Crocker said.
The Supervisors appointed Pfenning to the board in August. Since that time, the board has been unable to appoint two more members to round out the five-person board. Since the positions were not filled within 60 days of the vacancy, Crocker said the district may have to wait until the next election on June 5. The only other alternative would be for the district to call a special election, which is prohibitively expensive.