RACINE — Following a six to three vote, the Boone County Ambulance Authority placed director Randy Lengyel on administrative leave with pay while an internal investigation in completed.
“While that process is going on we thought it was appropriate to put him on administrative leave,” said Josh Barker, a B.C.A.A. board member.
The Boone County Ambulance Authority made several decisions during its special meeting on Thursday evening at its headquarters in Racine.
During the meeting, the board discussed personnel and financial matters. They also went into executive session regarding the illegal $103,000 loan given to Lengyel from the agency’s general fund.
The board also announced that its president Harold Green had submitted a letter of resignation to the Boone County Commission, which was accepted. The commission had already began the process of removing Green and vice president Joe Gollie.
Gollie presided over the meeting as the new president, but the commission says it will continue its process to have him removed from the board.
Gollie got into a heated argument with ambulance authority workers when they attempted to bring additional chairs into the meeting room for people to be able to sit down. Some chairs were brought in, but Gollie said he was in charge and that no more chair would be brought into the meeting room.
The first item on the agenda called for hiring a lawyer to represent the board and to also train the board members. The Boone County firm Shaffer & Shaffer PLLC was hired at a rate of $250 an hour after a unanimous vote by the board.
The board then appointed members to newly formed personnel and finance committees. Those committees will conduct the board’s internal investigation into Lengyel’s illegal loan and review of the West Virginia Ethics Commission’s ruling that the loan was not ethical and reports from the West Virginia state audit of the agency, which is currently being conducted.
Several ambulance authority workers appeared to be upset that Lengyel was place on administrative leave with pay while they further investigate his capability to act as the ambulance authority’s director.
Bryan Justice, a 25 year veteran paramedic, was voted by the board to be the agency’s interim director while the investigation into Lengyel is ongoing.
“I just want to create a family atmosphere here,” Justice said. “I will go to bat for them, we are going to the very best that we can do while I’m in the interim spot.”
Barker said the board’s top priority must be earning back the trust of employees, the community and making sure the ambulance levy passes.
“If we earn the trust of our employees we will earn the trust of our citizens. That’s got to be number one and we’ve got a long road to haul,” Barker said.
Members of the newly appointed financial and personnel boards hope to reach a final decision about Lengyel’s position within the next few weeks.
The Boone County Ambulance Authority’s next scheduled meeting will take place starting at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19.
Fred Pace is an editor for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-369-1165, ext. 1661, in Madison; at 304-752-6950, ext. 1729 in Logan; by email at [email protected] or @fcpace62 on Twitter.