Letters to the Editor — November 11, 2016

Date Published: 
November 11, 2016

Reader talks emergency services

Editor’s Note: The following letter was addressed to Ocean View Mayor Walter Curran, and forwarded to the Coastal Point for publication.

I own a home in Foxwoods and I write to raise some questions about the proposed “Municipality-Wide Discount Ambulance Subscription Service Agreement,” which I understand will be discussed at tonight’s town council meeting. I am unable to attend and request that this letter be made part of the record.

1. Coverage. The Millville Volunteer Fire Company (MVFC) 2017-2017 Ambulance Subscription Agreement states in pertinent part: Regardless of ambulance subscription in the event of an emergency Millville Volunteer Fire Company EMS will provide transport services as dispatched. Medical insurance will be billed for all transports. Any balance due from patient after insurance is resolved will be forgiven for those holding a valid subscription.

I presume that each individual identified in the Agreement section captioned “Coverage,” at paragraph 1, will receive this benefit, but it should be made explicit by incorporating the language quoted in Italics above.

2. MVFC Responsibilities.

Paragraph 2 of this section of the Agreement needs teeth — an enforcement provision and a deadline. Extremely lax internal controls and poor corporate governance contributed to the embezzlement of nearly $200,000, which went unreported and undetected through several years of review by the MVFC’s outside accountants. The Town should insist on a clean audit as a condition precedent to the Agreement, and a clean audit every year the Agreement is in effect.

3. Assessment and Collection.

I foresee numerous potential problems with this section of the Agreement. For instance, paragraph 4 purports to establish a procedure for fee disputes, but sets out no rules for conducting such a hearing. Who decides the merits? A committee, or the entire town council? Who holds the burden of proof and by what standard? Will there be an appeal process? Will an objecting party be able to obtain discovery from the Town in order to defend herself? Will there be penalties for non-payment? What if the MVFC fails to take all appropriate steps to collect from a primary and a secondary insurance carrier? Will the hearing then have to address the complexities of multiple levels of insurance coverage or non-coverage? These are serious questions that require thoughtful deliberation before this Agreement is finalized.

4. General Provisions.

Paragraph 5 of this section of the Agreement, which requires MVFC to get insurance coverage for the Town, is weak. The insurance coverage should be stated as a condition precedent, with proof of coverage established every year the Agreement is in effect.

In conclusion, Mayor Curran, I wrote to you on Jan. 7, 2016, to express my concerns about the then-apparent rush to approve this mandatory fee, with little or no due diligence. I wrote, in part:

Chief Scott and his teams of professionals know how to fight fires and provide emergency medical services. But they are not qualified to operate as an insurance company. Insurance companies are heavily regulated by the State, as well they should be. Insurance companies are required to provide regular financial reports and audited financial statements, and to meet minimum net worth requirements. Their assets, liabilities and financial practices are scrutinized by regulators. No one should be comfortable with MVFC operating as an essentially unregulated insurance company with the discretion to use collected funds “however MVFC wants.”

Since I wrote those words, the Town has learned much about the extremely poor way in which the MVFC was managed fiscally. I am pleased to see that the Town is at least trying to take steps to protect its money — which, as we all well know — is our money, the taxpayers, which you hold in trust and are obligated to protect. Thank you for accepting my comments and I look forward to the opportunity to be heard again — in person.

Sincerely,

Joseph A. Capone

Ocean View

Elling responds to ‘under educated’

Editor:

Who is not “under educated”? When a member(s) of the IRSD Board of Education uses a demeaning or burden reference to “under educated” students entering into our schools of the IRSD, I am disappointed in such “under educated” references.

Every student who enters each and every grade level is “under educated.” If they arrived at our classroom doors “educated,” we would have no need for our schools and educators. Every student needs our educators to move forward for their entire life in the pursuit of knowledge. When our students are handed their diplomas after finishing their 12th grade, are they fully educated? No, as they all will move on to a variety of educational offerings to pursue higher and higher levels of experiences, knowledge and skills. This pursuit is a lifelong pursuit. “Under Educated” is never eradicated from any of us “till death do us part!”

Pointing a blaming finger at students who come from a different culture, speak a different language, have a different skin tone is disappointing if not blatant discrimination. The IRSD is once again facing another discrimination law suit. Why?

There are indeed youth who are “under educated” in English and “Sussex County culture and skills.” However, when they do come with another language, it is an educational gift for all our students. We are most likely to be “under educated” in their languages and cultures. What do we do in the IRSD? We teach bilingual classes for our young students and I hope, one day, to all our students.

I like to believe that our students are capable of learning more languages. All of our students should have the skills and desire to wander this beautiful planet we call Earth. They may well find cultures and languages they love. They may return to Sussex County and replant their own roots here with a better understanding of this beautiful planet and the fascinating brothers and sisters living in all parts of Earth.

Yes, we are all “under educated.” Let’s help our students to pursue their “under education” their entire lives. Opportunity should/shall, await everyone. We have educators, who are ready to share their knowledge and skills to open more windows and doors for all our students.

Lloyd E. Elling

Ocean View

Readers happy beloved pooch made the paper

Editor:

A big “Thank You” to Tyler Valliant, photographer, for taking the picture and to the editors for choosing to print the photo of our dog, Bailey , from this years parade!

He is a 12-year-old lab/golden retriever mix and has walked in the last few parades. Each year we wonder, will this be his last one? His human mom was auld lang syne, who wore a white sheet and a stifling rubber mask with a gray beard and long hair, carried a 2016 sickle and Bay was my sidekick with a black T-shirt, party horn and New Years 2017 black top hat that would not stay upright, hence the side bandanas.

Even though we did not win, we had fun, and events like this affirm that we are so grateful to be able to live in Bethany Beach and support the SPCA.

Lorraine, Dan and Bailey Martin

Bethany Beach