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EMSA board needs to wake up

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Modified: June 13, 2013 at 6:05 pm •  Published: January 26, 2013

A state audit of the Emergency Medical Services Authority should grab the attention of EMSA’s oversight board — and indeed of taxpayers who help fund the ambulance service.

The report this week confirmed what had been reported in media accounts — namely, that CEO Steve Williamson and others at EMSA have spent lavishly through the years on travel, accommodations and in other areas. The audit report labeled the spending not as illegal but as inappropriate.

The audit, which was requested by the EMSA board, looked at agency spending from January 2009 to June 2012. During that time, Williamson was reimbursed for more than $400,000 in expenses; more than half of those involved no board oversight. Among the reimbursements: $669 for room service and a $415 spa bill. What sort of work on behalf of EMSA merits such extravagance?

State Auditor Gary Jones said the board has “unintentionally fostered a culture of acquiescence in which officers and employees are permitted to establish inappropriate patterns of expenditure behavior and fail to disclose potential conflicts of interest, unbeknown to members of the board.”

Simply put: The board was asleep at the switch. This has to change.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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