Manatee County paramedics make good point about policy inconsistencies

December 8, 2012 

Speaking of our first responders, Manatee County's paramedics and emergency medical technicians detailed their complaints about EMS operations to county commissioners this week. The workers are waiting for the results of a vote about union representation, compelled to this action because of low morale, not over pay but mismanagement.

It should not have come to this. Disparate application of personnel policies from shift to shift should not be allowed in any organization, and supervisors should be trained in equal enforcement.

One worker grievance focuses on a policy called "drafting," whereby an off-duty paramedic is forced to head to work to fill someone's shift. The put-upon employee's personal situation matters not -- even if tending to a family problem or heading to the airport for vacation. How can anyone live a somewhat normal life with that policy hanging over them?

Small wonder Manatee County EMS turnover is high with many veterans departing.

There should be a detailed policy on drafting that only allows discretion in extreme circumstances. With union representation, we bet that occurs.

Lucky for commissioners MSO deputies rejected union representation this week.

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