By Marian Galbraith, staff writer
The Coffee County Ambulance Authority voted 3-2 to terminate new EMS director Scott Cooper at the tail end of its meeting Thursday, stating he was “causing too much conflict.”
Ambulance Authority chairman Jimmie Bradford, right, bids farewell to EMS director Scott Cooper following his termination Thursday by a vote of 3-2. Cooper was hired in February to replace John Cathey, who retired from the position in January. (Staff photo by Marian Galbraith)
Cooper was hired in February to run the troubled Coffee County EMS department, replacing outgoing director John Cathey, who had retired.
Those voting for the termination were commissioners Rennie Bell, Janet Fann, and Anne Frisby, while the remaining two, Mark Kelly and chairman Jimmie Bradford, voted to keep Cooper in place until at least July to see if the situation might improve.
Formerly serving as assistant fire chief of Riley County Fire District #1 in Kansas, Cooper had been a paramedic for 24 years and firefighter for 26 years, specializing in emergency medical and first responder services prior to moving to Tullahoma with his family to take the job.
Cooper had been selected in part because of his master’s degree in public administration from Barry University in Miami and a long list of training and certifications from Florida and Kansas.
His resume also showed extensive management experience in both fire and EMS.
While the authority agreed that Cooper had made rapid improvements at EMS, including reduced response times and better service delivery, Fann, Bell and Frisby seemed to express that he was doing “too much too fast,” causing several EMS employees to take jobs elsewhere.
“You’ve caused so much conflict,” Fann said, “the employees are not happy and we’re going to lose employees.
“We talked about this last month, that you need to take baby steps and slow down. You seem to think your way is the only way, and you’ve got to go by the book on everything.
You’re even telling employees they can’t talk to anyone outside EMS.”
Bell added that Cooper was “pitting employees against each other” and criticized him for allowing his fiancée to help create budget spreadsheets in the office on a personal laptop…
Read the complete, in-depth story in next week’s (April 24) print edition of the Manchester Times. Click here to subscribe to the print and / or full online version of the Manchester Times.