COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Some big changes are on the horizon for the Richland County Emergency Management Services following a WIS investigation into the department.
Just one day after our story aired, we learned new positions are being added, an increase in pay is coming, and discussion about increasing the budget began immediately.
Last week, Councilman Jim Manning sponsored a motion to increase the EMS budget. That motion will be heard at Tuesday's Richland County Council meeting.
Sources say there was a closed-door meeting held with County Administrator Gerald Seals to discuss positive changes employees could soon see.
Seals did not respond to our request for information regarding the meeting, but Councilman Seth Rose said all council members received an email confirming big changes that are on the way.
The following improvements at the department will be implemented:
- EMS will receive $2.5 million to spend on equipment. This was approved in the last budget cycle but will be dispersed by January 1.
- The starting pay for advertised EMS positions will be increased to 10 percent in the hopes that they can hire experienced and valuable employees.
- All existing employees will receive a 5 percent increase in pay by December 2017.
- Eight new positions have been approved in addition to the 11 which are currently unfilled. That means 19 positions are open.
- 24-48 new EMS positions will likely be voted on by the county council and approved by the next budget cycle.
Councilman Jim Manning said he is also pushing for a budget amendment to increase EMS funding immediately.
Sources also say there have been discussions about adding security to EMS headquarters on Laurel Street. Employees say the area where Richland County EMS sits is not safe including the dark garage just across the street.