Wednesday, January 9th, 2019
Smith named EMS director
Rockford resident selected
By William Kincaid
CELINA - Mercer County commissioners on Tuesday morning moved to hire Kara Smith of Rockford as county emergency medical services director.
Smith will take the helm effective Jan. 22, filling a vacancy left after Kyle Gerlach resigned in a Nov. 15 email to the commissioners.
Commissioners found Smith to be qualified and best suited for the position. They received about three dozen applications - including 10 from people in the region - and interviewed four candidates.
Commissioner Greg Homan, who was elected chairman of the board earlier in the morning, said Smith has experience from working in an EMS administrative-like position at St. Rita's Medical Center. She also has worked in the EMS realm for a number of years and has local roots and an understanding of the local EMS system, he added.
She's also a volunteer with the EMS Rockford branch, commissioners said.
According to her resume, Smith, who graduated from Parkway High School and attended Rhodes State College, has been with St. Rita's since January 2013, starting out as a paramedic before rising to paramedic supervisor. She also had worked as a state tested nursing assistant with Laurels of Shane Hill and Colonial Nursing Home, both of Rockford, her resume states.
She'll earn a beginning salary of $54,500.
Mercer County dispatches squads and volunteer emergency responders in Coldwater, St. Henry and Rockford. A contract for squad service also is annually penned with the city of Celina, which operates a full-time, paid staff of paramedics.
EMS, which serves the county's roughly 40,814 residents in a 473-square-mile area, is largely self-funded, with 90 percent of its revenue coming from billing to Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance companies for runs. About 10 percent of the funding comes from a $2.50 per capita charge assessed in each township and municipality.
In other action, commissioners on Tuesday morning,
• approved Jobs and Family Services request to use $3,000 in state prevention, retention and contingency program funds to help pay for a woman's car repairs. The total repair estimate from Zuma Automotive is $6,438 for parts and labor to install a new motor in a 2009 Buick Enclave with 107,823 miles, according to county documents.
The rest of the cost will be paid by the recipient's family, according to documents.
"The repairs for the recipient's vehicle far exceeds the maximum allowable benefit of $3,000; however, the recipient's family has already paid $3,000 to Zuma Automotive to apply to the repair and will pay anything over and above the maximum allowance of $3,000 per MCJFS's PRC plan," a JFS letter to commissioners reads.
Under the current PRC program, employment related expenses and services are for up to $3,000 for a 36-month time frame to eliminate barriers preventing an assistance group from securing or maintaining employment, the letter states.
Commissioner Rick Muhlenkamp said officials take steps to ensure vehicles are in good enough condition to warrant repairs.
The PRC program was established by the Ohio Department of JFS to temporarily help eligible low-income parents overcome immediate barriers to employment.
The PRC program helps provide clothing, shelter, housing relocation, domestic violence and disaster assistance, transportation, training, employment and work support.
• approved CetraCom of Celina's proposal to update the courthouse phone system and link to the Mercer County Central Service Building for $35,390. The cost includes labor, Avaya IP office phone system, phone ports and other features.