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Because we need a Chuck Fritts

You ever find yourself in one of those situations where you don’t really know who to pull for?

Or maybe you know both sides have good points and could both be correct, but …

Actually, there isn’t two sides. It’s just a situation and it came to a head Monday night at County Commission where, yet again, a county department head requested to shift money — money already in place, not new money — around to pay for something the department needs.

And — yet again — it’s questioned.

Yes, it should be questioned.

Wait. It’s complicated.

But let’s cut to the poo-poo.

Nathan Sweet is running an underfunded Emergency Medical Services. He shuffles money. He has to.

He can’t control how many ambulance runs are going to take place on any given day, much less during a year.

What’s he supposed to do? “An emergency where? Can’t do it, we can only do three emergency calls during the next 14 days.”

So question why he needs to shuffle money around. Listen to his response.

I know nothing about running an emergency service.


But I like knowing that if I need an ambulance I’ll be taken on a gurney with clean linen.

Yeah, that came up last month.

He was questioned why he needed to shuffle money to buy new linen for the gurneys in the ambulances.

It was something like $8,000. If that sounds expensive then see how much it costs you to replace your bed sheets, towels, wash cloths, etc.

Yet, there were still “no” votes from commissioners who didn’t see it that way.

Not 20 minutes later another county department asked to shuffle funds to purchase two chairs. Something like, $1,400 — and my memory is not what it used to be so that may be a bit off.

No questions asked and approved, as it should have been.

Department heads know what they need, they know how to use the money they already have.

Unless your name is Nathan Sweet.

It happened again this last Monday when there were two requests — again, no “new” money involved — for shuffling funds in his department.

It involves being able to transport deceased persons who may, or may not, have been involved in criminal activity.

It seems the county EMS looked at dropping that part of its service and letting others (funeral homes for example) do that and charge the county because that’s going to save money, right?

Well, these other folks may not know how to preserve evidence and things of that nature. Chain of custody seemed like a concern.

Or others may not want to transport a body not in the best condition.

So maybe trained personnel should do it.


Last month wasn’t the first time Mr. Sweet has had to answer questions about shuffling his funds. Last Monday won’t be the last time his requests will be questioned.

But one commissioner, Chuck Fritts, kinda had a word or two to say about EMS being drug into the principal’s office every time it makes a request.

It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t County Commission’s finest moment.

But it happened.

I can understand, even applaud, any commissioner who has a question about fund transfers within a department. The Commission is the oversite committee. They are tasked with having the tax payer’s back.

But to tell you the truth, when you’re not gonna question shuffling funds for buying chairs, but you’ll, by golly, vote against the basic sanitation needs of someone who requires emergency transportation, well …

Or you’ll support any request from law enforcement (as well you should), but ignore those same agency’s concerns about a trivial matter like “chain of evidence …”

Maybe you need a Chuck Fritts to point out a thing or two.