The Grand County Council has not yet approved the Emergency Medical Service Special Service District, though they are already planning for the board that the district would require.
With four seats open — and four special service district board candidates — they may not face tough competition in their application process. Luckily, said Grand County EMS Director Andy Smith, all the candidates are highly qualified and bring a diverse set of strengths to the table.
The candidates are Rarni Schultz, Jason Taylor, Shawn Winder and Elizabeth Tubbs.
“I think all of those candidates are fantastic and they’ll all be passionate and they’ll all be working for the best outcome for the service,” Smith said.
Smith said that Taylor ran EMS in the past and is a local business owner, while Schultz brings a business background and a deep understanding of Moab as a long-term resident. Tubbs has extensive healthcare experience and was at one time a member of the county council. Winder brings a depth of experience in public safety, including time spent working as a paramedic and firefighter, Smith said.
Taylor told The Times-Independent that his 12 years as an EMT motivated him to apply for the board.
“I think EMS is important to the community and to the county and I think that it would be a good opportunity to serve on that board,” Taylor said. “With the history I have of serving as an EMT, I can help out … Long-term sustainability is probably the biggest thing I want to see with providing high-quality care to the people of Grand County.”
Tubbs said that she brings experience from working in the Utah Department of Health in Salt Lake City and has a thorough knowledge of governance from her time on county council. Tubbs also emphasized her hope to build a more sustainable EMS service. She said that full-time salaried staff sometimes has to work 70 or 80 hours a week.
“That becomes unsustainable,” Tubbs said. “It wears you out plus it doesn’t allow [EMS leadership] to do the strategic planning that’s necessary to sustain a service like that.”
Tubbs also hopes to help with the need for a new physical home for the service.
“[That] wouldn’t just be a board issue but the board would be one vehicle through which some of these problems have to be worked out,” she said of the need for a new EMS base.
Taylor, Schultz and Tubbs all sat on an EMS working group that studied options for the service and recommended the formation of a special service district, Smith said. That work will give them a strong background for understanding the issues facing EMS.
A resolution to form the special service district will likely go to the county council on April 17. On that day or at the next meeting, the county council will consider applications to the board.
Smith looks forward to the formation of the special service district.
“Obviously as requests for ambulance services continue to rise, it takes more involvement from a board or a district to help plan for the future so that’s really essentially the purpose of a special service district in our case. We are looking for heavily invested and interested people that want to ensure the EMS service in the county performs at a high level and has a long future and is sustainable,” Smith said.