Oklahoma City to consider asking for EMSA audit
The Oklahoma City Council is set to consider a proposed resolution from Councilman Ed Shadid to ask the Emergency Medical Services Authority Trust to audit EMSA's travel and capital expenses. The request would not be binding.
The Oklahoma City Council will consider asking the Emergency Medical Services Authority Trust to audit EMSA's capital and travel spending. But it's not yet clear how the audit would be paid for, and not everyone is convinced it would find anything inappropriate.
Ward 2 Oklahoma City Councilman Ed Shadid, a physician who is one of the council's two EMSA trustees, is sponsoring a resolution asking the EMSA Trust for the audit. The city can't require such an audit, so the resolution is simply a request and is not binding.
The proposed resolution comes after a series of stories beginning last year in The Oklahoman and the Tulsa World detailing EMSA spending on travel and other perks, interdivisional money transfers and litigation and collection cases involving TotalCare subscribers.
Shadid said EMSA needs the audit to address even the appearance of impropriety.
“It's not just looking for wrongdoing, but to get policy recommendations on how we can run (EMSA) more efficiently and with more transparency, and restore public trust,” Shadid said.
But Ward 1 Councilman Gary Marrs, a former fire chief who is the council's other EMSA trustee, said he thinks an audit could be too expensive. The audit would be a new expense for EMSA's budget, and Marrs said it would likely have to be paid for with taxpayer dollars.
“I don't think an audit is going to find anything, and I'm not opposed to doing one,” Marrs said. “But who's going to pay for one? Those aren't cheap.”
The resolution also “encourages” the trust to audit billing related to TotalCare, the utility fee program that provides EMSA its subsidy from Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
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