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March 1, 2014

MESTA discusses 911 center contract

PRYOR, OK — The Mayes Emergency Services Trust Authority Board of Trustees met Friday evening at 5 p.m. for a special meeting. Several items were on the agenda, including the acceptance of the resignation of MESTA attorney Fred Sordahl and hire an interim attorney until a permanent replacement could be found.

Tulsa Attorney Jim Orbison with the Riggs Abney firm was present at the invitation of Trustee Trent Peper and he addressed the board. Orbison told the board he would gladly serve as interim attorney and stated his intention to apply for the position.

Retired Judge Gary Dean asked to be recognized and addressed the board regarding Orbison.

“I’m familiar with him and his firm and their reputation is impeccable,” Dean said.

The board approved the hiring of Orbison as interim attorney.

Orbison will be paid $175 per hour and receive half-time for travel. Sordahl was being paid $275 per hour.

Another item on the agenda referenced the 911 center. It called for the “discussion and possible board action on the lack of operating procedures between MESTA and Mayes County 911 and the possibility that MESTA may be in violation of the Trust Indenture if dispatchers tale 911 calls without a contract.

“I was informed that there would have to be a contract due to liability issues,” Board Chair Brent Crittenden said. “We need to ensure that there’s a contract with the 911 center.”

Discussion revealed that MESTA dispatch is to serve as a backup for the Mayes County 911 center.

“There needs to be a written document detailing who that dispatcher is working for and the responsibilities they will have,” Orbison suggested. “There needs to be a contract.”

Further discussion suggested that the earliest a contract could be approved by the county would be ten days away at the commissioners meeting on March 10. Though there is a commissioners meeting on Monday, March 3, no contract currently exists and it was too late to be included on the agenda.

Commissioner Darrell Yoder was in attendance and said any contract would be looked over by their lawyer as well as the the district attorney’s office.

The county begins management of the 911 center Sunday night, revealing a new concern of what to do in the interim week and the question of liability. Board members were assured that in the event of a liability issue in the interim, current liability insurance for MESTA would provide coverage.

After much discussion, trustees approved a motion instructing Orbison’s firm to begin drafting a contract immediately, with the hope that commissioners will approve it on March 10 and MESTA could approve it at their regular meeting on March 11.

 

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