A request previously turned down by the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District Board for needed wi-fi upgrades was revisited at Tuesday’s meeting, but with no action yet.
Branden Jackman, public information officer for the district who also provides IT expertise, had previously submitted a purchase order for the IT infrastructure upgrades with a cost of $6,260. The board did not approve that last month though, although it did approve thousands of dollars’ worth of software and equipment upgrades.
Since that meeting, board member Mark Clyburn was tasked with obtaining a competing bid, which he did and for the same equipment, and that bid came in about $1,000 less, but it was through someone unknown to the district.
According to Paint Creek Chief Bradley George, Jackman’s IT company has always handled the system for the district, and knows it better than anyone else as he has built it. There was also discussion of whether it would be more cost effective to use Jackman, who knows the system, or the unknown company.
In the end, it was decided that George would ask Jackman about doing the upgrades at the lower cost.
Aside from the information previously supplied to the board by Jackman on the current system’s inability to handle the district’s network requirements, George also said he had seen firsthand since his return to the position of chief two weeks ago the network’s inability to handle the software and equipment improvements previously OK’d by the board.
On a related matter, another request that the board previously tabled was approved for the purchase of rescue rope and associated equipment. The cost will be around $7,000 for the rope and equipment.
George told the board Tuesday that the matter of the rescue rope “was something begun last year,” and it was needed so that the same equipment was available at all the stations.
The board unanimously passed the purchase on Tuesday.
In other business, George, just returning from suspension after being cleared in an investigation, reported that next month he will begin the “full blown” monthly reports to the board. He said these will be done at the first meeting of a month and reflect the activities of the previous month.
On grant funding, George said there is a new grant through the Ohio Department of Public Safety where each emergency services and law enforcement department could “be open” to about $100,000 in grant funding.
While there is more research to do, George said he was looking into a “regional plan” whereby the Highland County departments would pool their grant funding to upgrade the county to the MARCS system instead of the current radio communications system. Right now, George said Highland County’s infrastructure could not carry the MARCS system, which most other counties have already upgraded to, he said.
The board went into an executive session shortly after 8 p.m. for the stated purpose of discussing personnel matters to consider the appointment, employment, and compensation of a public employee. When the board emerged from the closed session over two hours later, no action was taken.
The Paint Creek board holds its regular meetings every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Greenfield station on Washington Street. The meetings are open to the public.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.