Vote of No Confidence in Mecklenburg EMS (MEDIC) Leadership

Vote of No Confidence in Mecklenburg EMS (MEDIC) Leadership

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Joe Keith started this petition to Mecklenburg County Commissioners and

We, the undersigned, submit the following petition to the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners, Charlotte City Council, and Mecklenburg EMS Board of Commissioners as a Vote of No Confidence in the leadership of Mecklenburg EMS, otherwise known as MEDIC.  The devoted employees of MEDIC provide essential life-saving care to the citizens of Mecklenburg County on a daily basis. These civil servants are fatigued and distressed due to constant mistreatment by the leadership of their agency. The ongoing negligence and disregard of a multitude of problems by MEDIC leadership has resulted not only in persistent harm to MEDIC's employees but also to the citizens Mecklenburg County.

While the problems at MEDIC are numerous, we ask that you please investigate and address with diligence those listed below:

- Low and stagnant wages, as well as a known culture of fear at MEDIC within the EMS community, have resulted in MEDIC being unable to meet staffing goals and keep quality employees.

- Due to low staffing, MEDIC reaches "system status zero" on an almost daily basis, meaning there are no ambulances available to respond to 911 calls.

- Low staffing and poor "system status management" result in extended response times from MEDIC to life-threatening situations.

- Low staffing causes employees to regularly receive late calls, turning a 13.5-hour shift into a 15-hour shift or longer. Employees who receive late calls are still expected to be at work the next day at their normal time, resulting in employee fatigue.

- Low staffing results in new paramedics with minimal experience, sometimes less than a year, being forced to upgrade to Crew Chief of an ambulance.

- Due to low staffing, MEDIC as a system is dependent on overtime, meaning that if not enough employees work overtime, there are not enough ambulances to provide adequate coverage to the county, again resulting in long wait times for citizens experiencing a medical emergency.

 - Low and stagnant wages make employees dependent on overtime as well, with some employees working as many as ten days in a row in order to provide for their families. This results in significant fatigue, with some employees having difficulty staying awake during shifts.

- In 2018, employee satisfaction averaged 27% reaching as low as 5% during the year. Employees regularly call out sick due to mental and physical exhaustion.

- Employees working shifts as long as 13.5 hours are not guaranteed breaks or time to eat.  While some days may be slow, many days result in employees neglecting their own health to respond to 911 calls.

- Internally, leadership refuses to respond to numerous complaints and requests for dialogue from field employees.

- Leadership refuses to address issues at monthly in-service (a meeting all employees must attend at some point during the month).  When asked difficult questions, assistant directors have historically responded with threats such as, "If you don't like it, go find another job," or "You and I can talk about that privately."

- Employees who are vocal about issues are met with retaliation from leadership. Vocal employees are regularly terminated, passed over for advancement, or otherwise targeted and harassed by leadership for being "troublemakers."  

- Leadership and office employees receive 88 more hours (two weeks) vacation a year than field employees and CMED dispatchers, despite not being exposed to fatigue, bodily harm, chronic stress, infectious disease, and PTSD.

- Leadership exercises a loose attitude toward administrative employee attendance and vacation. Field employees are penalized for being one minute late while leadership regularly comes to work late and leaves early.

- Policies on discipline and other issues are not enforced fairly, with preferential treatment being given to those loyal to or in sexual relationships with leadership. Policies are exercised more harshly toward outspoken employees.

- Leadership regularly manipulates statistics and information given to public officials while hiding any negative information about the agency.

- Due to a lack of oversight, leadership is immune to any form of discipline.  Directors regularly harass and bully employees, threaten their employment, and otherwise create a toxic and hostile work environment. MEDIC's own Human Resources department has admitted to having no disciplinary capability against leadership.

- Pay discrimination is rampant and unchecked.

- A wrongful termination lawsuit was settled for $350,000 against MEDIC's leadership. The lawsuit contained multiple employee-witnessed outbursts and behaviors including a bold confession by MEDIC Deputy Director, Jeff Keith: "I am either sexist or racist; I'll let you figure out which one. I'm not going to change."

The reasons above serve as justification of this petition for a Vote of No Confidence in the leadership at MEDIC. Any thorough investigation into MEDIC records, as well as any conversation with MEDIC employees unadulterated by the fear of retaliation, will prove these claims to be true. We ask that the parties to which this petition is addressed act immediately. Hold MEDIC's leadership accountable for their actions and their disservice to their employees and community. Continued inaction will only result in further harm to MEDIC employees and more importantly to the citizens of Mecklenburg County. Thank you.






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