Ambulance contracts due |

Ambulance contracts due

Emily Aughinbaugh, Tribune staff writer

El Dorado County Health Department officials said they are hoping to hire an outside agency in the county ambulance provider bidding process.

Gayle Erbe-Hamlin, health department director, said she has been looking at five national companies that specialize in requesting proposals, interviewing and recommending a qualified provider.

Hamlin said she hopes to have one company pinned down before Tuesday when she goes before the Board of Supervisors to ask for the $50,000 to $75,000 needed to hire an outside agency.

Hamlin said the health department decided on this process to avoid possible litigation should a provider feel the department was biased in awarding contracts.

“(The Health Department) can do it, but I’m not an expert on it and neither is the Emergency Medical Services agency,” Erbe-Hamlin said. “Everyone’s so concerned this is done right that we might as well hire the experts on it. It’s really important that the process is as impartial as you can possibly get it.”

Erbe-Hamlin said if the Supervisors approves a national firm, the bid could go out about two weeks behind the original Oct. 24 deadline.

The two most vocal interests vying for the ambulance provider contract are Lake Valley Fire Department and Lake Tahoe Ambulance which is the current provider.

Lake Valley Fire Chief John Ceko said a delay in the request for proposal process is worthwhile if it ensures an impartial decision.

“Two weeks in the scheme of things is not much,” Ceko said. “At this point I think it’s a good idea. There’s been sides taken, and maybe (hiring an outside firm) would move it right out of the political realm.”

Lake Tahoe Ambulance could not be reached to comment.

Erbe-Hamlin said if the county does hire an outside firm, it will make a recommendation to the health department and Board of Supervisors based on extensive research of the county’s needs and interviews with the interested providers.

After the recommendation is made, the Board ultimately awards the contract.

If the Supervisors decide to keep the proposal process in-house, Erbe-Hamlin said her department will try to meet the October deadline.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Board is also scheduled to decide on whether to grant construction contracts for county road maintenance projects. Supervisor Ray Nutting said he is anxious to discuss why only one of the contracts being considered is for the Tahoe Basin.

The county Transportation Department has marked the Tahoe Basin roads as the worst in the county and department officials have said there are time restrictions for maintenance that don’t exist for West Slope roads that are asking for more maintenance allowances.

The Board will also be meeting on today to discuss the 2000-01 budget, which will include the Department of Transportation funds.


What: El Dorado County Board of Supervisors Budget Meeting

When: 9 a.m., Today

Where: 330 Fair Lane Building A, Placerville

What: El Dorado County Board of Supervisors Meeting

When: 9 a.m., Tuesday

Where: Tallac Vista Conference Center, 1775 Sherman Way, South Lake Tahoe

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