‘Dysfunctional’ Environment, ‘Paramilitary’ Structure In Escambia EMS Described In 2018 Memo

April 17, 2019

NorthEscambia.com has obtained an internal county memo that describes a “dysfunctional professional environment” and a “paramilitary” structure in Escambia County EMS six weeks after a new medical director joined the organization.

Dr. Rayme Edler became medical director in early May 2018, responsible for overseeing all county medical staff under EMS and the county jail. Escambia County EMS operates under her medical license.

In a June 2018 internal memo, Human Resources Director Eric Kleinert informed then Public Safety Director Mike Weaver about his review of EMS complaints.

Kleinert stated that he had completed his review of “competing complaints” between Edler and four members of EMS administration — then EMS Chief Steve White, Section Chief Kate Kenney, Commander Rebecca Brownfield, and Captain Jim Bonoyer.

“At present, the complainants have contributed to the establishment of a dysfunctional professional environment within EMS. None of the parties are satisfied with the current arrangement and wish to have the situation cured. Therefore, I will focus on the way going forward based on the observations I have made on the situation,” Kleinert wrote.

Kleiner recommended a course of action to resolve the issues, including a better understanding between all parties of responsibilities and levels of authority. “This is to include the supremacy of the Medical Director’s authority in matter under her purview,” he wrote.

The HR director also recommended that Weaver review “the culture associated with the paramilitary organizational structure that has been recently adopted by EMS”.

White resigned less than two weeks after the June 2018 memo. Fire Chief Rusty Nail was named EMS chief after White’s resignation. Nail submitted his resignation this month. Weaver resigned earlier this month, and Kleinert has submitted his resignation effective May 17. There  has been no connection, if any, made public between the resignations and the memo.

According to a report aired earlier this month by NorthEscambia.com news partner WEAR 3, Edler filed a complaint last month with the Florida Department of Health with concerns about department protocols, missing signatures on IV certifications and falsification of credentials.

NorthEscambia.com has requested a copy of the letter from the county, but we have been told it is not public record.

“While I am aware that the local tv station did televise a letter dated March 19, 2019 to the State Dept. of Health, I consider that document to be confidential and exempt from public records disclosure at this time as a pending agency investigation record. The letter and complaint associated with that matter are exempt until further action of the agency involved,” County Attorney Alison Rogers wrote in an email to NorthEscambia.com on Tuesday.

NorthEscambia.com file photos.


7 Responses to “‘Dysfunctional’ Environment, ‘Paramilitary’ Structure In Escambia EMS Described In 2018 Memo”

  1. Moving Forward on April 18th, 2019 6:27 pm

    I certainly hope John Dosh is being considered to take this Department over. Not only a smart, talented leader but an outstanding person.

  2. Me. H on April 18th, 2019 1:25 am

    I work with EMS on a regular basis. The street crews do a great job and work really hard. I trust them with my health. I hope the supervision can get themselves straight and provide a good work environment for their employees and service to the public.

  3. Uncle M on April 17th, 2019 5:35 pm

    @citizen—yes the EMS crews are all hard working and do a great job and service to the community. It is their “higher ups” who think they can undermine their medical director and falsify documents. I think all the recent resignations are part of that. If Mr. Weaver did not know any of this was going on then he was and did not doing his job. If he knew then he was part of the problems. Dr. Edler is a great MD and medical director. She herself used to be a paramedic and was left with a crap show when she took over for the last medical director. This paramilitary atmosphere is left over from his military style atmosphere.
    Honestly, I think the good ol boy system is now coming back to bite them in the rectal region. So maybe it will disappear and will get some people that actually want and can do their job.

  4. Citizen not complaining on April 17th, 2019 1:28 pm

    I worked in fire and EMS for 25 years in a few large cities to include Atlanta, Miami and Jacksonville. I have seen the EMS and Fire here and can tell you they are hard working people and I have NOT seen anything that would be of concern. In fact, they appear to be professional and courteous.

  5. Howie on April 17th, 2019 12:00 pm

    missing signatures on IV certifications and falsification of credentials

    Missing for a reason and falsification is lying.

  6. Welby on April 17th, 2019 11:02 am

    If they fall under the purview of a medical director/ doctor they should be held to the same standards and ethics. They are public servants.

  7. tg on April 17th, 2019 7:19 am

    Correct ASAP lives are on the line.

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