December 9, 2013
I’ve been waiting for someone to ask this question, but since no one has, I’ll ask. How does the notorious voting bloc of Commissioners Price, Poe and Roark justify their vote of Nov. 4 to replace long-time ambulance service provider Blue Ridge Medical Transport (BRMT) with a provider who submitted a higher bid?
BRMT, who’s held the county’s ambulance contract since 1994, submitted a bid of $5,700,000 while Ashe Medics, a company that didn’t yet officially exist, submitted a bid of $5,704, 961, according to media reports. The difference is a little less than $5,000, but as stewards of the taxpayer’s money, shouldn’t they justify their decision?
What are we getting for that extra five grand that BRMT isn’t already providing? Is there some deficiency with BRMT? Rather than stick with a company that has the required infrastructure in place, has trained personnel, knows the needs of the community and has a 20 year history of service to the citizens, these three appear to have made yet another choice that isn’t in the county’s best interest.
Following their long-established pattern of making strategic decisions and then not explaining their rationale to the voters, these three court jesters seem to reach consensus based on their ill-advised ideology rather than what’s best for the greater good of the community.
Ashe Medics is a company that’s being formed from the ground up. If there had been some kind of recognized problem with BRMT’s service, a change may have been warranted. Commissioners Rhodes and Sands voted to keep BRMT as the county’s provider, thus indicating no such problem exists, and Commissioner Sands said he voted for BRMT because they were the lowest bidder. Why didn’t the other three?
Here’s something to consider. If you go to the public Facebook pages of Commissioners Poe and Roark, you’ll see both are “friends” with Craig Sullivan, the owner of Ashe Medics. We live in a small community so perhaps it’s merely an innocent coincidence rather than a possible conflict of interest, but, in the name of good governance, the people of this county deserve to know the truth. However, as past practice has indicated, no one should hold their breath waiting on any of the “Three Amigos” to explain their vote.
At the Dec. 2, board meeting these three unsurprisingly voted as a bloc to make Gary Roark chairman of the board with Poe remaining as vice chair. With that leadership team in place we can only expect the buffoonery to increase in 2014.