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It's official: NRAD fires Bill Bishop as executive director

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

Approximately 10 days after placing him on administrative leave, the Northland Regional Ambulance District (NRAD) board of directors voted to fire William Bishop as the district's executive director.

The move to terminate Bishop's employment effective immediately was made in a special meeting of the board Monday night.

As exclusively reported in last week's issue of The Landmark, the NRAD board had suspended Bishop with pay "pending a performance review.”

Bishop had served as the district's executive director approximately 10 years, working from the district's headquarters in Platte City. Bishop came on board after the district's first-ever director was guilty of misusing district funds.

Mark Hubbard, attorney for NRAD, said there is no financial settlement arrangement with Hubbard.

"None at all," Hubbard told The Landmark on Tuesday, declining further comment.

“There were no malicious reasons for the termination,” NRAD board president Charlene Bruce said in a release issued Tuesday morning. “The board made the decision they felt was in the best interest of the district, and we are anxious now to move forward.

"The board members and NRAD employees will work together to continue to provide the highest possible level of emergency medical care to each and every patient,” Bruce said. “We are fortunate to have paramedics and EMTs who are committed to their profession, and to providing the best possible care in every situation.”

Efforts to contact Bishop were unsuccessful.

In addition to Bruce, a Smithville resident, NRAD board members are Luke Hilmes and Lew Basye, also of Smithville; Alan Matthys and Kevin
Rawlings of Camden Point, and Steve Hoeger of Platte City.

Basye was absent from Monday's meeting. The remaining five members voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

As reported last week in The Landmark, Joe Coons, longtime NRAD paramedic who has served the past several years as paramedic supervisor and assistant executive director, will serve as interim executive director until a permanent replacement has been named.

Coons declined to comment as to whether he is interested in seeking the permanent appointment to the post.

"I'm not really going to say anything about it until I talk to board members about it. The board hasn't discussed that yet. I imagine they'll discuss it at their Feb. 15 board meeting," Coons told The Landmark.

Coons will oversee a staff of 17 employees, with 13 field staff members, two full time office staff and part-time employees as needed.

"They're a great group of employees. They make it pretty easy," Coons remarked.

Northland Regional Ambulance District covers 344 square miles in Clay and Platte counties, including Smithville, Central Platte, Camden
Point, Dearborn and a portion of the Edgerton-Trimble fire protection
districts. In addition to emergency medical services, NRAD also
provides CPR and first aid classes, and offers a variety of community
outreach programs.

The firing of Bishop comes as the district is beginning a campaign to attempt to pass a proposed 15 cent increase in its current 28 cent tax levy. A 10 cent increase in the tax levy was rejected by voters last August, with 709 opposed to 443 in favor.

The firing also comes on the heels of an audit last summer. Although it uncovered no wrongdoing, the audit resulted in several recommendations. The audit noted that patient service billings were not consistently being performed.

It also offered other suggestions on how the district could improve its financial picture. The auditor recommended changes in budgeting processes and procedures for disbursements, as well as cutting back on health benefits paid to NRAD employees.


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