Report recommends EMSA chief operating officer
BY ZIVA BRANSTETTER World Enterprise Editor
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
8/22/12 at 4:35 PM
A city review of EMSA recommends the agency create a chief operating officer and create a plan of succession for future leadership.
A city of Tulsa consultant on Wednesday presented EMSA board members with that and other key findings from an extensive review of the agency’s operations. The review by the city’s Management Review Office included interviews with many employees and more than 60 documents and sets of data, said Michael Brink, a contract employee for the city of Tulsa.
The Emergency Medical Services Authority is a government agency that supervises a contractor providing medical service to more than 1 million people in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and surrounding cities.
The agency has been named in a lawsuit seeking class-action status that claims it wrongfully sued citizens taking part in the city’s utility fee program. An investigative audit by the State Auditor and Inspector’s Office is also set to begin next month, following a Tulsa World investigation.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Brink told board members that EMSA would benefit from creating a chief operating officer position. Currently, CEO Steve Williamson makes the majority of EMSA’s key decisions, though EMSA has a CFO, Kent Torrence, to keep track of financial issues.
“It’s just a big job for one person,” Brink told board members. “Steve’s obviously an enormously talented guy but that stretches anybody thin.”
In a written response to that recommendation, EMSA states: “EMSA believes that key individuals are currently involved in major procurements as any major purchase will be supported by a requisition that must be approved by the CFO and President and, in the future, the COO.”
Board member Clay Bird said he was more concerned about the review’s finding that “there hasn’t been any succession planning going on.” The review states no plan is in place in case Williamson leaves or is unable to serve.
Brink also noted that EMSA has no contract manager.
The review found that of nine purchases involving $50,000 or more in 2011, at least six were designated “sole source” contracts. EMSA’s contract with its law firm, Works and Lentz, has not been bid since 1989, it states.
“Increasing the amount of competitive procurement we think would benefit EMSA,” Brink said.
EMSA has changed some policies relating to bidding, requiring three price quotes for items over $2,500 and formal bidding for purchases over $25,000.
Read the rest of the story in Thursday's Tulsa World.
An EMSA ambulance transports a patient near Fifth Place and Sheridan Road on March 28. TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World File