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EMSA board chairwoman said Oklahoma ambulance service is 'on the right track'

New management practices and better oversight by the ambulance service's board of trustees will help ensure EMSA is complying with state law and its code of conduct in the wake of a highly critical state audit, said Lillian Perryman, chairwoman of the Oklahoma authority's board of trustees.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD Published: February 23, 2013

“We do want more oversight by the board,” she said. “Not every little detail, but I think big items, items that could be considered possibly questionable, we want to address that before any of that is paid for upfront.”

The audit, which was requested by the board after media reports revealed questionable spending habits by Williamson, indicated he spent more than $400,000 between January 2009 and June 2012, more than half without board oversight.

Purchases included room service, spa visits, satellite radio subscriptions and expensive catering events and parties.

The audit also revealed EMSA since 2009 used its nonprofit status to purchase at a tax-free rate more than $7 million of fuel and equipment for the contractor it relies on for paramedic services and then having the contractor reimburse the authority at the cheaper rate.

Perryman said that practice was reviewed and approved by the board's attorney and said it will continue.

“It was used for the public good and also to try and cut down on costs that would have been passed along to the towns involved,” she said.

But another member of the board, Ed Shadid, who also sits on the Oklahoma City Council, said he doesn't believe EMSA can truly address issues outlined in the audit without a change of management.

“I've seen enough to know that the discredited leadership needs to be changed,” Shadid said.

Are there things that weren't done probably as well as they should have been? Very possibly so. I don't think there was any upfront purpose to do anything wrong.”

Lillian Perryman,
Emergency Medical Services Authority chairwoman


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