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Rolesville, N.C., Ambulance Chief Briefly Suspended; Mayor Alleges Harrassment

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The medical director of the Wake County Emergency Medical System suspended the head of Rolesville's ambulance service, leaving Rolesville without EMS coverage for 30 minutes Sunday until a replacement was found, Rolesville Mayor Frank Eagles complained to county commissioners Monday.

The suspension comes amid ongoing tension regarding the town's right to have more than one ambulance.

Tina Como, the longtime head of the Rolesville EMS, was temporarily stripped of her ability to work in Wake County as a paramedic by Brent Myers, medical director for Wake EMS. Como was reinstated Monday morning, according to town officials.

The unusual move of suspending a local EMS chief followed a spot check of Rolesville's second ambulance as it arrived at a hospital after transporting a patient with injuries that were not life-threatening, said Rolesville EMS board member Jacky Wilson.

The ambulance did not have a paramedic on board, which resulted in Como's suspension from Sunday afternoon to Monday morning, Wilson said.

Rolesville officials contend the transport was in line with current Wake EMS procedures.

Monday, Eagles told the Wake County Board of Commissioners that Myers was "unprofessional" in his handling of the matter and accused him of unfairly targeting the town's second ambulance.

"We're getting kind of tired of being harassed," Eagles said, noting that the county approved an agreement to have the second ambulance.

Myers did not immediately return calls for comment.

In an e-mail message sent to Wake County Manager David Cooke, Myers said he had resolved the issue with Rolesville.

"The [Rolesville EMS] board is committed to ensuring there are no transports without a paramedic on board the ambulance," he wrote. "Given this, Tina's suspension has been removed."

Since November 2006, Rolesville has fought a protracted battle to keep its second ambulance on duty, despite claims from Wake EMS that the town doesn't need two ambulances.

Wake County contracts about half of its ambulance service with not-for-profit EMS units that include Rolesville and use the same dispatch system.

In May, Wake Commissioner Paul Coble brokered a deal to give Rolesville a year to prove that a second ambulance was needed. Under the agreement, Rolesville will reimburse Wake County for the cost of operating the second vehicle.

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