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January 20, 2011

2 EMS officials resign over 'breach of safety'

By Jonathan Martin

SPRINGFIELD, Tenn. — Robertson County has eight ambulances ready to respond, but on some days, at least two of the county-owned trucks were in Nashville on standby at sporting events.

County Mayor Howard Bradley said he had no idea that was happening.

"We are looking at what was probably improper use of county vehicles," said Bradley.

Last spring, Robertson County's EMS Director Jackie Wilkerson signed an agreement with Saint Thomas Hospital to send Robertson County ambulances to Davidson County High School football games. However, the mayor said that Wilkerson didn't get permission.

"It shouldn't have happened. First of all, he was not authorized to sign a contract," said Bradley.

"I thought that's why I was the director. I could make those decisions," said Wilkerson.

County leaders call what occurred a breach of safety because if there was a major emergency in Robertson County, some ambulances would have been farther away.

"He knew I was sending trucks to cover events," said Wilkerson.

"The mayor knew?" asked reporter Jonathan Martin.

"Yes sir," said Wilkerson.

Wilkerson and the assistant EMS director are resigning over this controversy. After 23 years on the job, Wilkerson said he's hurt that he's leaving over a decision that ultimately brought in money for the county.

"The fact that my ability was questioned after all these years. Yep, that hurts," said Wilkerson.

"It should have been made universally aware to not just the committee, but to the full commission. There was a lapse there that shouldn't have happened," said Bradley.

Wilkerson's final day on the job was Wednesday. An interim director is already in place.

Because of what happened, the county mayor says he's meeting with all department heads about getting approval before making certain decisions.

Republished with permission from