Tulsa City Council Wants Audit Of EMSA's Books

Thursday, April 19th 2012, 10:53 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa's City Council all but demanded an audit of EMSA's books during Thursday's city council meeting.

EMSA has been under scrutiny by the city over its billing practices and how the public utility communicates those practices with customers.

Tulsa city councilors say a resolution is the strongest message they can send.

In a unanimous vote and without any discussion, the Tulsa City Council is strongly advising EMSA to get an auditor to look at its books.

"We think it would be worthwhile for an independent auditor to go in there, work through their operations and their records, then report back to the stakeholders in the system on what they found," Tulsa City Councilor GT Bynum said.

The resolution councilors approved calls for the EMSA Board of Directors to ask the state auditor to get involved or hire an independent third party auditor to investigate the ambulance service's billings and collections as well as travel and capital expenditures.

"This is not an indictment of EMSA, we aren't presupposing anything with this vote tonight," Bynum said. "This is simply an acknowledgement that there's clearly a need for a third party to take a look at these things."

No EMSA representatives showed up to the council meeting because CEO Steve Williamson says he's fine with an audit.

"We welcome an opportunity for them to come in and feel comfortable with the policies we have and how we are responding," Williamson said.

03/08/2012 Related Story: Tulsa City Council Examines EMSA's Billing Practices

Williamson recently appeared before the council to respond to allegations that EMSA is suing people who have already paid a monthly fee for ambulance coverage.

He says EMSA isn't hiding anything, but maybe the service wasn't as transparent to the public as it thought it was being.

"There's been a lot said here recently about the operation and the policies and no one wants to get this clarified more than we do," Williamson said.

The city says it's asked for audits like this several times before with its own departments to simply get a new set of eyes on a situation.

The resolution now heads to Mayor Dewey Bartlett. Ultimately, the audit decision is up to the EMSA board and the item is now on their agenda for next Wednesday.