Fitch & Associates is a consulting firm with many years of experience in assisting local governments in evaluating and improving both fire and emergency medical services. The County Commission contracted with Fitch in May of 2021 for a very limited review of the county’s EMS system — a basic analysis of ambulance response data. There were no on-site or telephone interviews with any operational staff in the county’s Emergency Services Agency or the seven volunteer fire companies in the county. The interaction between the consultants and the county staff appears to have been limited to phone calls every other week and generic questionnaires that were completed by county staff.
May 18 – County Commission receives proposal from Fitch & Associates
May 20 – County Commission votes to approve contract with Fitch for $35,000
Jun 30 – Kickoff meeting (video call) between Fitch & County staff. Participants for the County include Stephanie Grove* (County administrator), Michelle Gordon* (County finance director), Nathan Cochran (attorney for the Commission). *No longer employed with the County.
Aug 6 – County participants in project expanded to include data request to Jeff Polczynski (director of 911 communications)
Aug 15 – County participants in project expanded to include data request to Todd Fagan (GIS manager)
Jan 6 – Fitch provides draft report to County officials
Feb 7 – Nathan Cochran (attorney for County Commission) requests that Fitch not release the final version of its report until the presentation to the Commission, stating that “I am under the belief that the final report will look similar to the draft report that you provided to us initially. I think it would probably work best if we did not release the final report until such time as you make your public presentation. I think that might reduce confusion since your report might be misunderstood without you there to explain it.”
Feb 14 – County Commission posts a notice of a special meeting to be held on Feb 17, with the purpose described as “presentation and consideration of report regarding analysis of public safety issues.”
Feb 17 – County Commission special meeting (virtual format only) with presentation of report by Fitch
Mar 3 – At County Commission regular meeting, multiple Fire & EMS chiefs speak during public comment to note that they had not been contacted by Fitch at any time during the preparation of the report.
Current Status: The report and its recommendations are being carried forward as potential action items on the County Commission’s agenda. Several commissioners have indicated they desire to take quick action on the recommendations.
Updated as of April 3, 2022By Staff Contributor