Hopkins resigns as Finney County EMS director

7/20/2013

By SCOTT AUST

By SCOTT AUST

saust@gctelegram.com

Joe Hopkins, Finney County Emergency Medical Services director, resigned this week after three years as head of the county's EMS department.

Hopkins turned in a letter of resignation on Tuesday. His last day on the job will be Aug. 9, according to County Administrator Randy Partington.

"He has taken another job," Partington said. "I've heard it's a new job, but he didn't specify in his letter. That's probably a better question for him."

Hopkins did not return several calls seeking comment.

Hopkins was hired in September 2010. According to a news story at the time, Hopkins was a Finney County paramedic since 2002 before being hired as director, and also was serving as regional public health coordinator for Western Pyramid Region. Hopkins also taught entry-level and advanced-level paramedic courses at Garden City Community College.

Partington said Emergency Management Coordinator Michael Paz-Torres, and Skylar Swords, one of three current EMS supervisors, will jointly lead the EMS department until the county determines its next steps or begins a search to find a permanent replacement for Hopkins.

"We're not opening it up right away. We just want to take the time to kind of have Michael and Skylar go over how things are going right now, and what direction we need to move, before we start a search," Partington said.

Commission chairman Dave Jones declined to comment about Hopkins' tenure as director, feeling it wasn't appropriate for him because Hopkins technically works for the county administrator, not the commission. The commission also has a limited role in hiring the next director.

"We'll have input, but we kind of need to examine the landscape and see what's available within our own employee structure, and if there's not somebody suitable there or willing, we can always go outside the agency and advertise, but again, that's going to be left up to the administrator," Jones said.

When and if the time comes time to interview candidates, the commission gets one seat on the interview committee, he said.

In general, Jones expects the county will look for an individual with the right education and training necessary for the job.

"It's a pretty doggone significant position so you've got to have the right person with the right temperament, talent and training and so on," Jones said.

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