The Bladen County Board of Commissioners saved the best for last on Monday, returning from a closed session and unanimously voting to give its EMS paramedics, supervisors and training officers a raise — putting the county’s pay scale for those positions on a par with neighboring counties.
This was a long time coming and follows numerous examples for why such action was necessary.
Bladen County has lost a number of good EMS employees to other counties simply because of the low pay scale. And with an economy that has struggled over the past several years, most good people are logically going to follow the money.
EMS personnel, regardless of what level they serve, are an important link in the county’s overall protection and rescue operation — right along with and to a large degree, at the same level as firefighters and law enforcement. They are highly educated and an important bridge between a medical emergency and the hospital, often putting their own lives on the line during many responses. As the saying goes — “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” — Bladen County can’t afford to hinder its protection and rescue operation by having a weak EMS link.
While we emphasize the importance of Monday’s unanimous action by the county commissioners, we will also add that the very same argument can and should be made for the necessary passage of the newest version of the quarter-cent sales tax referendum, which will be on the ballot on Nov. 8.
The Board of Commissioners have placed the issue on the ballot earmarked specifically for the county EMS. If passed, the sales-tax increase has been estimated to generate about $500,000 annually — a figure that would quickly transform the county’s EMS with better salaries, better equipment, better facilities and more.
Anyone who doesn’t think passing the sales tax referendum would be a tremendous benefit for the county just isn’t thinking logically or has their own warped agenda. Passing the referendum to benefit EMS should be a no-brainer.
For now, we will give an attawaytogo to county commissioners for Monday’s decision. We just hope we can give the same kudos to voters for their decision on Nov. 8.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Whether we are doing CPR, extricating someone from a wrecked vehicle or holding the hand of an elderly lady, we do whatever is needed whenever it’s needed. Some can do one of those, a few can do more than one, but only a special person can do it all.” (Unknown)