Former state Sen. Jim Sebesta to head EMS committee
LARGO -- A committee formed by state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, and the Pinellas County Legislative Delegation met Thursday (Dec. 22) to get organized.
The six-member committee's task is to choose a nationally known accounting firm to evaluate the Sanford-Millican plan of fire-based transport, a proposal by County Administrator Bob LaSala to change the funding formula for deciding how much each of the 18 fire districts that provide first response emergency medical service should get, and the current EMS system.
Latvala's goal was to have a more or less neutral committee so that neither side in the emotionally charged battle over the future of Pinellas EMS could say the accounting study was biased. Each side got to choose three committee members: The fire transport proponnents chose St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, Lealman fire Capt. Jim Millican, one of the authors of the transport plan, and Pinellas Park fire Chief Doug Lewis. The county side chose incoming county Commission chairman John Morroni (who has not taken a stand on the issue), Kelly Triolo, a member of the emergency medical services advisory committee, and Jay Ravins, head of Clearwater's finance department.
Their first duty was to choose a seventh member to chair the group. The first choice was former state Sen. Jim Sebesta.
Latvala stepped out of the meeting room to call Sebesta to see if he would serve. When Latvala returned, he said Sebesta had not answered but he left a voicemail message that said, "This is Latvala, have I got a Christmas present for you."
Sebesta called later in the day and said he would serve.
-- Anne Lindberg, Times Staff Writer