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Everyone should read what the Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services (CCEMS) PR guy is saying to influence the May election of the safety commissioners for ESD#11. “Setting the Record Straight” and you can find it at www.ccemsnews.com.

You have to love America.

Cypress Creek’s Norm Uhl argues CCEMS is a “private” company, providing a service no different than a construction company would on a Texas highway.

Quite frankly, I never would put an asphalt company in the same category as a life and death 911 provider, but OK, let’s play along.

Cypress Creek should just incorporate as a “for-profit” business. Now CCEMS is a public charity, not a private company. That is why their IRS 990 Tax Returns are public, not private.

In Texas, a charity must disclose financial records. That includes who is on the payroll, and who is getting the contracts. That is why the CCEMS contract requires competitive bidding. How else do we find out about overpaid charity bosses?

CCEMS is playing like they don’t know what the charity law says, but the Harris County District Attorney’s office thinks that’s hogwash.

As a public charity, CCEMS gets the right to buy equipment at those cheaper government pool prices. Private construction companies do not.

Let’s use the construction company example anyway. I invite Mr. Uhl to show me any government contracts with a construction company that has the government paying for specific line items of the company operation, like the salaries of employees.

ESD#11 pays the salaries of every paramedic and dispatcher, but cannot find out who is cashing the checks. Really?

It is the reason why ESD#11 Commissioners Brost and Berleth have argued taxpayers have a right to know who is paid with your money. Just names, time sheets, and bonuses.

CCEMS says it has nothing to hide. Great. Cough it up. The paramedics wear uniforms and name tags don’t they?

On a website called www.keepccemsstrong.com you read that CCEMS is being asked to share confidential HIPPA compliant Information. Nonsense.

ESD#11 taxpayers pay for the staff of the CCEMS dispatch center, which also dispatches fire trucks in other parts of Harris County. Those fire departments pay for the service, but word is ESD #11 taxpayers are paying far more than their fair share.

Again, CCEMS won’t cough up the truth so ESD taxpayers know.

If I live in Spring, I want firetrucks to get to a house fire in Katy, but I expect folks in Katy to pay for it.

If you read “Setting the Record Straight” you’ll notice there is no mention that the FBI and IRS are now investigating CCEMS, in part because of allegations of improper CCEMS influence.

There is no mention that CCEMS is now fighting a criminal subpoena from the District Attorney. What a great message for the kids of ESD #11.

But that’s ok. Maybe taxpayers should elect commissioners who will give CCEMS exactly what they want, a private company with a contract just like a road construction company.

ESD #11 could negotiate a specific service contract with a payment for services rendered. Of course, CCEMS would lose the right to veto their replacement.

I know, as stupid as it sounds, ESD #11 actually signed a 10-year contract that says that. ESD lawyers didn’t write the contract, the contractor did.

Under the current contract, CCEMS gets to keep the millions of dollars paid for insurance companies for 911 ambulance service, money that is supposed to defray the need for extra tax dollars. The tax money subsidizes the budget.

If CCEMS wants to be a private company like a construction company, all that medical billing money should then be collected by a third party vendor chosen by taxpayers and returned to taxpayers. It would be aggressively collected like toll road violations, and then, and only then, would taxpayers be asked for property tax money to make up the difference.

CCEMS lawyer Andrew McKinney admits CCEMS doesn’t aggressively collect the medical bills because taxpayers are chipping in millions. Maybe that explains why $6 million dollars in bad debt was written off.

The way it is now, charity ambulance service CCEMS gets to use all those millions in medical bill money to help pay for a bloated million-dollar plus administration, operating just 14 full time ambulances and 4 part-time ambulances. They use the money to pay Executive Director Brad England’s salary, which is much higher than the Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.

They use the money to pay for those lavish bills at Perry’s Steakhouse where England holds “wining and dining” meetings that may run afoul of IRS rules.

Ask Karen Plummer, who is running for re-election, why it’s right for an ESD elected official to accept entertainment from the contractor she polices, while CCEMS argues for a tax increase to pay for old medical equipment?

Let CCEMS run a dispatch center and make money doing it. ESD Taxpayers would pay their portions, plus a little more for England’s administration desires. Of course, taxpayers for all those fire departments will want to know how CCEMS is spending their money too.

What a tangled web you weave when you play games with the public’s right to know.

Let CCEMS run an education center and make money from it.

You have to love America. Imagine if a road construction company was blatantly trying to influence the election of highway commissioners to keep their contract. Taxpayers would be outraged.

No one has ever suggested CCEMS doesn’t provide great ambulance service. CCEMS has created this transparency crisis by this chameleon challenged game of being government when they want to, a charity when they want, and a private company when they want to.

The sad thing is that CCEMS and Mr. Uhl may have now committed the unforgiveable sin. Scaring residents, especially senior citizens, that their safety may be jeopardized in an attempt “to take over CCEMS or replace it with a private ambulance service which cannot manage the standard of care established by CCEMS.”

CCEMS says they have been the transparent one, alleging Dolcefino Consulting is being paid to expose the misuse of taxpayer money. We plead guilty. That is what an investigative communications firm does.

And that is the beauty of transparency, and why state law makes it illegal to question the motive of a citizen when they ask for charity records.

If CCEMS provides the records to the ESD #11 Commissioners, the Harris County District Attorney, the FBI and the IRS, the public would eventually get to see them anyway. And then you could judge for yourselves?

If CCEMS has nothing to hide, that’s the quickest way to fix it. What a concept.

If a candidate running for ESD#11 Commissioner will not promise to protect your investment, they do not deserve your support.

This political ad was paid for by Dolcefino Consulting. Just setting the record straight!

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