Fire chief ousted from EMS advisory group
LARGO - With a highly emotional debate over the future of Pinellas County's emergency medical services system raging, Largo fire Chief Mike Wallace found himself in a difficult situation. Not only is he Largo's fire chief, he was also head of the Pinellas County Fire Chiefs Association, which appointed him to represent its views on the emergency medical services advisory council. EMSAC, in turn, elected Wallace to lead it. Trouble was, those entities often had differing opinions, causing Wallace to walk a fine line when commenting on the EMS controversy.
Earlier this year, Wallace fell of that line. The chiefs group had told him to vote against a proposal by Pinellas County Administrator Bob LaSala to change the funding formula for EMS services provided by the 18 fire districts. But when it came time to cast his vote on EMSAC, Wallace voted in favor of LaSala's plan.
The chiefs were furious. On Friday, Wallace wrote to the EMSAC members to tell of his fate:
Members of the EMS Advisory Council:
At the direction of the Pinellas County Fire Chiefs Association I am immediately resigning my position as Chairman of the Council. My interim replacement will be my alternate (Palm Harbor fire) Chief Jim Angle. Another chair will need to be elected in accordance with the bylaws.
It has been an honor and privilege to serve you and I am confident that the Council will continue to make thoughtful decisions that hold the best interest of the citizens as the highest goal.
Thank you for allowing me to work with you during this time.
Michael Wallace MPA, EFO, CFO
City of Largo
-- Anne Lindberg, Times Staff Writer