Pike County Times
The Pike County Times, PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. Click here to donate through PayPal. Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor@pikecountytimes.com
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Pike County Awards Ambulance Contract to Grady EMS
By Editor Becky Watts

ZEBULON - The Pike County Commission has chosen to go with a new ambulance service provider in the 2015-2016 budget year. Last night’s county commission meeting had many in attendance who were concerned about the awarding of the contract.

Mid Georgia Ambulance has held the contract in Pike County for the past eight years. Last year’s contract was for $395,000. When the sealed bids were opened during last week’s meeting, there were three bids for ambulance service in Pike County that would provide for two ambulances in the county and one as a back up.

Mid Georgia Ambulance bid $370,000 to continue service with options for one, three, and a five year contracts, Spalding EMS bid $350,000 for a three year contract only, and Grady EMS bid $275,000 for new service with one, three, and five year renewable contracts with a specification that they would hire anyone from Mid Georgia who met their requirements and all current Mid Georgia employees would keep their pay, benefits, and seniority.

Pike County commissioners listened to discussion from both Mid Georgia and Grady EMS representatives at last night’s meeting. Joe Robinson, President of Mid Georgia Ambulance, stressed that there have been no issues, complaints or concerns with their service over the past eight years. Discussion centered around the two ambulances that are housed within Pike County and the regional service delivery system that brings ambulances from Upson or Lamar when mutual aid is needed (Mid Georgia also serves Upson and Lamar Counties) and the involvement of Mid Georgia within the county on events such as Relay for Life and football games which have a dedicated ambulance sitting at the event in case of an emergency. Robinson then offered to reduce their original bid to $265,000 when he spoke to commissioners last night.

Grady EMS was represented by State Representative Johnnie Caldwell who spoke on behalf of Grady as their attorney and Grady Vice President Bill Compton. Compton stressed their service provided by Grady to Decatur County in South Georgia over the past year and advised that they handle professional sporting events in Atlanta on a regular basis so that would not be a problem for them as well as stating that 100% of the employees who applied to work for Grady in Decatur County who passed the background check and had a clean driving record were hired. He stressed that there will be a local manager for Grady from Pike County and that employees will keep their seniority, pay and benefits.

Compton answered a long list of questions from the commissioners and the county manager including what is charged for transport, what happens when someone cannot pay their bill, and what service will be provided for Pike County. Grady will house two ambulances in Pike County on a 24 hour/7 days a week basis with a third ambulance available 12 hours a day, five days a week for other transports—and this 12 hour unit schedule can be adjusted depending on the history of call volume here in the county. Grady will also have an on call unit available on the weekends.

Commissioner Tommy Powers asked about whether the county could legally accept Mid Georgia’s verbal bid at the meeting for $265,000 against the $275,000 bid from Grady EMS that was received by sealed bid at the meeting last week. County Attorney Rob Morton advised that the verbal bid given during the meeting could not be received because it was given after the bid was closed. Commissioner James Jenkins then made the motion to award the bid to the lowest bidder according to state law bid requirements with a one year contract renewable up to five years with Grady EMS. Commissioner Tim Guy gave the second and then commissioners made the final discussion before the vote.

Commissioner Jenkins said, “It is our duty to look out for the citizens the best that we know how. It is our duty to take care of the taxpayer dollars as we should.” Chairman Briar Johnson said that the County Manager and the Commissioners did their homework on this. Commissioner Guy then thanked Mid Georgia for their service over the past eight years before the final vote on the motion. The motion to award the bid to Grady EMS passed in a 3-2 vote with Commissioners Powers and Daniel opposed.

Grady EMS said during the meeting that they normally like to have 60 days notice to come into a county and begin working. However, they will begin talking with Mid Georgia immediately to begin working on the transition.

You can read more about discussion of the ambulance contract from Pike County Times' coverage of the past two county commission meetings. Click here and here for more information.