MOUNT VERNON — The investigation into the paramedic certification for Mount Vernon Fire Chief Shawn Christy has taken on a sense of urgency in the city.
After discovering Wednesday the Ohio Department of Public Safety did not rule on the chief’s re-certification, and that it might be until August before the issue with the state is resolved, city officials are looking into their options.
Christy was placed on paid administrative leave June 2 after city officials were notified that his paramedic re-certification paperwork was under review by the state.
“August is way too late. We’re trying to see what needs to be done and make sure we do what we need to do,” said Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis. “It’s important for us to get this resolved. Hopefully, we’ll move ahead soon.”
City officials are collecting information on Christy’s license re-certification. Mavis said he is hoping to use information from the fire department’s EMS coordinator for the investigation. One of the coordinator’s duties is to keep track of continuing education requirements for firefighters and EMS personnel.
Each paramedic is required to complete a minimum of 86 continuing education hours within a three-year cycle. According to China Dodley of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, those hours must include 12 hours pediatrics, four hours geriatric, six hours of emergency cardiac care and eight hours of trauma issues. Other options include taking a 48-hour refresher course and 38 additional hours of CE; take a two-hour trauma triage course online and have a current National Registry Card; or take a test with the National Registry in lieu of CE and courses can be taken in-house at an approved agency or accredited school.
Christy’s paramedic re-certification, which is to take effect July 14, was flagged “needs approval” by the state. According to Dodley, that can mean the office is waiting on additional paperwork or that it has been flagged due to a potential issue. Because the case is still being investigated, officials from the ODPS won’t confirm the reason for the flag, but a complaint was filed Dec. 29, 2010, against Christy, claiming he was giving false statements on his re-certification paperwork for his paramedic certification.
Mavis said he is hoping to have all the data needed for the case collected within a week. That way, they can review it and share it with the state in an effort to get a conclusion on the situation.
“We’re trying to put together and have our own information. It’s going to be difficult for us to handle things the way we’d like to if it’s August before they decide,” Mavis said. “We need to get beyond this as soon as possible.”
Even with Christy’s absence, Mavis said the fire department is running smoothly and there hasn’t been any issue of extra overtime because of the situation.
“I talked with Assistant Chief Chris Menapace [Thursday]. He’s in charge and brought me up to date. Things are going well,” Mavis said. “Chris did not indicate this was causing any extra overtime.”