BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Three quit EMS; Acting director introduced

CAMBRIDGE – Dorchester County Emergency Medical Services lost three of its leaders this week. The Dorchester Banner learned this morning that Lt. Dan Elbing resigned.

During the day, anonymous sources informed the Banner that two others had left the agency. At the county council meeting tonight, the board confirmed that Lt. Michael Dempsey and Special Operations Chief Greg Fries had also resigned.

The three join other county department heads and supervisors who have left local government in recent weeks.

On Feb. 5, the members of the County Council accepted the resignations of EMS Director Anna Sierra and Supervisor Andy Robinson. Former County Manager Jeremy Goldman Director of Economic Development Jeff Trice were terminated and Airport Director Amber Hulsey resigned. Director of the Department of Planning and Zoning Steve Dodd retired.

Council President William Nichols introduced Acting EMS Director Dozia Rahilly at the beginning of tonight’s meeting. Ms. Rahilly is also employed as a firefighter at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

A reporter from the Banner asked Mr. Nichols how the departures will affect operation of the county’s Emergency Medical Service.

“I think we’ll survive,” Mr. Nichols said. “I think everyone who calls the number will be answered.”

Ms. Rahilly said, “All the shifts are being covered.”

Stan Trice stood up from his place in the audience and asked the council members if they were concerned by the numbers of leading employees who have recently left county service. “I would be asking my staff, ‘Why are you leaving?'” he said.

Council Member Lenny Pfeffer (District 4) said, “Absolutely, it does concern us. It does give us a large number of vacancies.” He added that interviews for the open positions are being planned.

Saying first that he did not know the reasons why the individuals had left, Mr. Pfeffer continued, “Actually, I know a couple who resigned and who have nothing to do with politics.”

Citizen Rusty Eberspacher also spoke from his place in the audience, asking for and receiving confirmation that EMS workers are on the job for 24-hour shifts and can be extended in case of staff shortage.

“They can be held over an additional 12 hours,” he said. “We might have a driver who’s been working for 35 hours.”

Ms. Rahilly said while that is true, the staff can sleep in between calls. “They do sleep,” she said. “They can sleep any time they want.”

After the meeting, she said the shifts and extensions are not unusual in the field – Baltimore, she said, has its crews on 48-hour shifts.

In other county news, the council announced that in closed session this evening, an acting economic development director was chosen. The individual was not named.

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

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