The Ely Times

The McGill Town Council held a special meeting last Tuesday with the White Pine County Commission.   

During public comment, Hal Hollingsworth commented,  “Been here for awhile, the wife has been on the McGilll Volunteer Fire department for a long time, bathrooms, showers, have been talked about for over 10 years, for her life on that, that really needs to be addressed. 

“We get sent out to calls, there is no place to decontaminate other than to take it home to our families, so I’d appreciate that be bumped up on your guys’ agenda and get that tooken care of please.”

Commission Chairman Richard Howe explained to the residents and McGill Town Council that the commission has been traveling around to the outlining areas, to hold these special meetings.

“We are here to listen, what we have here is there are so many concerns with each of the departments,” he said. “The bathroom issue in McGill has been brought before the commission before. One of the major problems is, it takes a lot of money and we have a contractor who is interested, we are trying to do all of the jobs in one.

“The new fire chief is going to be in charge of you outlining areas. You know what the agreement was, whether you like it or not, that’s what’s taking place, but this commission in White Pine is thoroughly committed to all outlining areas, and that includes McGill. Ricky has done a really good job, but a lot has to do with money.” 

McGill Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ricky Garcia noted to the commission about the lack of a bathroom in the fire department in McGill. 

“I did speak with OSHA, that bathroom is against OSHA compliance in that building,” he said. “I can give you the number. OSHA states that if you have more than 12-15 employees in that building, they require a restroom in the building. Even though we are volunteers, once we enter that building, we are employees of the county. Your building is not even OSHA compliant, we shouldn’t even be running out of it. So I would really prioritize it.”

Commissioner Travis Godon, reiterated to Garcia that the bathroom in McGill is a top priority.

Distirict Attorney Mike Wheable explained that at a previous commission meeting the bathroom was item that was already authorized and construction proposals were being taken.

Godon  said, “Next budget season we just over a million available that we will be putting out over here.”

Howe went through the list of repairs, that varied from a restroom, shower and a bunk room, door seals, an ice machine for the rehab room replaced and repaired, internet for report writing and training, to radios and pagers, with a minimum request of 10 each. A total of 16 items were on Garcia’s list. 

Wheable asked Garcia if the list was in order of priority, Garcia, replied no, but he could prioritize it.” 

Hollingsworth said, “I know you guys are talking funding, but this has been going on for 10 years now, so it’s kind of hard to sit here and listen to you guys well maybe next time, next fiscal year, this has been going on for ten years, hopefully it does become a priority.” 

Godon said, “On the stipend for the volunteers, can you highlight what you are looking at, is it per call, per run, what are your thoughts on that?”

Garcia said, “Whatever Ely did, these guys over here they have to pull double duty now, we actually ran a full call the other night to the hospital and we didn’t get home until 1 a.m. and I had to get up and go to work at 4 a.m.”

Hollingsworth said, “To add on that call, billing for it, since the city didn’t come out, the city was contacted, the city had no idea how to proceed with that, so just FYI for you guys, it’d be cool to figure out billing on that for the county, so the city don’t get.”  

Commissioner, Shane Bybee said, “I actually spoke to Ralph today, and he is working that out.”

Commissioner Laurie Carson asked Garcia about specifics on some of the items on the list, specific to internet. Garcia explained that the fire station has never had internet, and that it is needed for report writing and training. 

McGill City Councilman Ernie Rivera appeared frustrated, commenting,  “On the shutting down this county fire department, you had how many fire chiefs, 7? 8? And all of these problems with McGill are old, and I ask all the chiefs here what is that building doing for McGill? 

“Come to find out we have a dead ambulance that won’t start, granted these guys have checked their own equipment.   The commissions should have informed the community of what was going to transpire. Instead we had a civil war, McGill not responding on calls, we had some serious problems, one lady passed away and you guys are up here making promises again, and I’m going to have it out with the McGill volunteers, you guys have not responded to a lot of the calls.”

Garcia said, “There was one.”

Rivera said, “I have seven, medical calls.”  

Carson said, “Communication has been a huge issue and we are trying to….it hasn’t been in the past where our radios are compatible, with the sheriff’s office and the city. Being specific about what the needs are really helps.”  

Garcia said, “You have to remember we have 10 volunteers, they all work Monday through Friday, when the lady passed away, you and me talked, McGill was out of service, nobody was told to stand down over here. I do this for free, I work a full-time job, I don’t need this.”

Several of the commissioners asked Garcia about the list, and the needs.  

Wheable explained to the group how McGill was the flagship for volunteers, and that he believed that was what most of the community wants to see that again. Collaboration of all three entities, support and communication, are going to have to take place. 

Wheable said, “We are still conducting inventories across the county to find out what we are missing, we have done inventories in the past, a lot of things have barcodes, we are still finding out what we are missing, we do have insurance, and then so some of the bigger ticket items that we can prove were here and now they’re gone, we can do theft reports on. I still believe that the property is in the county, the problem is, when the Civil War that Mr. Rivera talked about occurred, there were things taken, moved around, so we just need to locate it, and make sure it’s accounted for it, hold these meetings to get exactly what they need.

Lund is also short 10 pagers, we know that there were pagers and radios, I saw them with my own eyes, we are finding out why, and if there is a prosecuting pending there will be, but I can’t speak about those things.”