Cambria ambulance service seeks administrator as services district likely to not renew contract

ktanner@thetribunenews.comDecember 12, 2013 

The logos of the Cambria Community Services District, top, and Cambria Community Healthcare District, above.

COURTESY IMAGES

Cambria’s services district is backing away from day-to-day management of the North Coast’s ambulance provider.

Cambria Community Services District directors are expected to consider ending a month-to-month contract to provide management and administrative services for the Cambria Community Healthcare District, which provides ambulance and other services from Ragged Point to Villa Creek (and, under a separate contract, for a distance up Highway 1 into Monterey County).

The services district has provided interim, part-time administrative services since June 2012
The original term of the administration contract was six months.

Mark Miller, chief of the Cambria Fire Department, and Jerry Gruber, services district general manager provided management and oversight. Miller had been more involved on a daily basis, especially in recent months.

Gruber intends to seek services district board approval Dec. 19 to end the contract with 30 days notice, he wrote in an email to the boards of both the services and healthcare district boards sent Monday, Dec. 9.

The healthcare district has been advertising for a new part-time administrator (up to 32 hours a week; for details, go to www.cambria-healthcare.org or call 927-8304). The extended deadline to apply for that job is Jan. 3.

Previous healthcare district administrator Don Melendy left after 32 years with the district, first as an employee, then in management and finally as a retired annuitant. But the state stiffened its regulations about how many hours and how long a time such a retiree could work for the agency from which he or she retired, which put a crimp in the Melendy arrangement.

Both Gruber and Miller also meet regularly with an ad hoc committee that has for years investigated how the two districts could share staff, facilities and equipment. That effort continues to move forward, according to Gruber and healthcare district Trustee Kristi Jenkins, who serves on the ad hoc group with CCHD Board President Bob Putney, services district board President Mike Thompson and Director Muril Clift.

“I believe that both agencies strongly support the efforts that have been made and will continue to be made in the formation of a JPA (joint powers agency),” Gruber wrote, “and the CCSD will continue to work collaboratively with the CCHD on moving the process forward.”

Jenkins agreed, saying, “We’re still moving forward … we’re progressing quite nicely with that,” despite a setback earlier this year with the discovery that it may take legislative action to allow qualified healthcare district personnel to act as firefighters when the need arises.
The premise of the JPA is that cross-trained staff members would be able to work for either agency.

The services district board’s monthly meeting starts at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, at the Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main St. The agenda also includes recognition for Kathy Choate, longtime district clerk who has now retired.

The next healthcare district board meeting is at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, at Rabobank, 1070 Main St.

Follow Kathe Tanner on Twitter at @CambriaReporter.

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