Bishop Mayor Jim Ellis worked as a dispatcher for six years in the Bishop Police Department. So, he knows the value of that service, but he also knows that Symons Ambulance signed a contract for police dispatching and has the responsibility to pay for it and deal with it.
The Bishop City Council gave Symons more time to pay an owed $13,000 and deal with an expired contract for dispatch services. City Staff have tried to get answers for something like nine months with no response from Symons. There have been no discussions about why the money is unpaid and what’s going on with their business which provides a critical service to the Bishop community.
Said Ellis of the Symons’ contract, “It’s a marriage that is made to work. It’s a good program.” But the Mayor said Symons entered into a contract knowingly and the “lack of communication is not the way to do business. There are too many unknowns. It’s a bad precedent,” he said.
Ellis pointed to the numerous attempts by the Police Chief and City Administrator to work out Symons’ lack of payment and expired contract. The Mayor said, “I would like to see this resolved by the next meeting. Otherwise we will have to take drastic measures.” Does this mean legal action? The Mayor said, “We have an obligation to protect the public’s money and their safety.” Ellis said in his opinion the Council has “pushed this off. It’s reached a point where we have more than bent over backwards.”
Ellis has known Judd Symons since they were children growing up in Bishop. The Mayor said, “I hope the public doesn’t think any of this is personal. It’s a business decision. If we can’t conduct business, what’s the point of the relationship?”
From his dispatch experience, Ellis said the Police Department service is “an inherent safety net”, keeping the person in need on the phone while the ambulance is called out, helping them until the EMTs arrive and judging if police or fire protection are needed. Ellis said he would consider charging Symons less but feels he has to watch out for the peoples’ money. The bottom line for him is that Symons owes money, needs to fix it and then work through any problems. Said Ellis, “A level of trust has to be there.”
The Mayor said, “Every door is wide open. I hope Symons Ambulance realizes the hardest part is the unknowns about them. That doesn’t work well.”