After completing an investigation that revealed a violation of personnel policies and “erosion of public trust,” Richland County terminated a senior paramedic Wednesday.
The County is also investigating other Emergency Medical Service (EMS) employees stemming from inappropriate comments posted on social media. Richland County has a standard that calls for employees to be “professional and courteous” when dealing with the public in any manner. Violations of personnel policies can result in termination.
“EMS is called upon to serve citizens in times of duress,” said Interim County Administrator Gerald Seals. “The statements on social media were threatening and could be taken as the County having individuals, who because of their bias, may adjust their care – and that erodes public trust and is unacceptable.”
During the life-and-death situations to which EMS workers respond daily, Seals said residents must know that they will be respected and will receive the best of care.
As stated in the “Code of Ethics” in Richland County’s employee handbook:
“The County expects its employees to conduct themselves and perform their work in concert with sound business practices and ethics. At all times, whether in or outside the workplace, employees must act in the best interest of the County and must refrain from conduct that is unbecoming and/or that would reflect discredit of his/her department or of the County.”
The Emergency Services Department, where EMS is housed, has a “zero tolerance” for “actions which are grossly unprofessional or grossly violate the standards of Richland County, the Department or a Division.”
The former employee was terminated following an investigation by the County Administration and ESD.