Pronews 7 first told you about the discord in Darrouzett over the Volunteer Fire Departmentâ??s excessive spending. Now, the Darrouzett Hospital District, which is run by Jimmie Wilmoth, who also ran the now defunct volunteer fire department, is the subject of public controversy over its four full time paramedics, in a town of 400 that sees an average of four calls a month.
Darrouzzett is ground zero for a political showdown between citizens, who have organized efforts through the Concerned Lipscomb County Taxpayers to put an end to excessive spending by the Volunteer Fire Department and the Hospital District. Earlier this week, the discord was apparent at the Hospital Board meeting, where new board members were asking tough questions about spending, especially after an audit revealed that the hospital district was going broke.
â??In their March meeting, the CPA firm of Allen said that unless things change and they did things differently, that she was going to have to recommend them as a non-viable business entity,â?? said Mark Lobmeyer of the Darrouzett Hospital Board.
Soon after the financial state of the hospital board was revealed, all four full time employees cashed in all their sick pay at the same time.
â??The employees had come in and drawn all of their extra pay, their sick pay, their vacation pay, totally everything; they stripped the account,â?? said Ladonna Morrow of the Darrouzett Hospital Board.
Lobmeyer said that this practice has never been done, the EMS employees say otherwise.
â??As part of the agreement when I came here that annually that after the fiscal year all that unused vacation and sick time would be cashed out,â??â?? said Mark Potter, the Chief EMT in Darrouzett.
Ms. Morrow says that the same people who work for the hospital district were draining the volunteer fire department
â??I think that between the fire department and the hospital district, they are so entwined, that itâ??s like robbing Peter to pay Paul,â?? said Ladonna Morrow.
Lobmeyer says that all of the staff of the hospital district is related to Jimmie Wilmoth, the director of the hospital board.â??
â??His mother in law, his ex-wife, his ex-wifeâ??s cousin, his mother in lawâ??s best friendâ??those are the four full time employees,â?? said Mark Lobmeyer.
Pronews 7 was at the last hospital district meeting, where a number of concerns were discussed heatedly, including access to records, outrageous bills being sent to residents when the hospital board agreed not to bill for its services, excessive spending, and threats being made to citizens who are demanding change. Among the scores of citizens who have felt threatened, Sandy Woods, the mayor of Darrouzett is one of them.
â??I found a dead rattlesnake in the front of my yard right where I get out of my car on the passenger side, this is the second time in three weeks,â?? said Sandy Woods. â??Also, a high powered rifle shot sounded like went off and landed close to us and I donâ??t know what to think of it. â??
The Chief Paramedic in Darrouzett says that the discord is driven by a personal vendetta.
â??Bottom line is that theyâ??re out to get Jimmie Wilmoth,â?? said Mark Potter. â??They started in on him with the fire department and when that as far as they could, this ground has come after the hospital district because Jimmie was the president.â??
The volunteer fire department led by Jimmie Wilmoth has lost its county contract and funding, and remains under investigation by several state agencies. He left the meeting angry after another board member said that he was going to resign, and there are reports that he took off in the Volunteer Fire Departmentâ??s fire truck.