Right decision more important than speed

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 19, 2005

If you ever find yourself in need of an ambulance, you want that ambulance to be the quickest ambulance on the face of the planet.

Just get it here quickly. That's the only thought that races through your mind.

If you ever find yourself in need of a new ambulance service contract, however, you might just find that it's best to be a little more cautious and take a little more time.

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Speed isn't the most important thing in that case. Understanding fully what you seek to achieve and how you seek to achieve it, is the most important.

Lawrence County Commissioners recently agreed to begin accepting bids for the county's ambulance service. We agree with that decision. Anytime government seeks to find a more economical way to serve a need without compromising quality, we're all for it.

The problem, however, comes in when folks get into a rush to &#8220make something happen.”

We urge the county commissioners to consider two factors in handling the case.

First, use extreme care when considering the bid proposals. The county will be best served if the bids are opened and put up for public discussion for at least a week or two before the commission casts its vote.

Deciding on a plan in a hurry will only cause additional fussing and feuding over whatever ultimately happens with the contract.

Second, keep whatever happens as non-political as possible.

Putting the county's emergency management office in charge of the ambulance service, while it could perhaps save a few dollars, is probably not the best thing.

Taxpayers should never forget the tough lessons that came from the demise of River Valley Hospital.

The equation is simple: Politicians trying to manage something about which they have no specialty are recipes for financial disaster.

River Valley Hospital died because people in positions of power were too busy worrying about their own pride, political power or cronies to do what was right.

We can see some certain similarities in having county-managed emergency medical services, too.

Bidding out the service is one thing. Trying to put your hands in the middle of it is something totally separate.

Let's use caution. Tap the brakes and do some serious discussion before deciding the future of emergency services in the county.