Aiken County EMS director off the payroll

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, Oct. 24, 2007

AIKEN CTY, S.C. --- The Aiken County EMS is undergoing some changes, and after a husband and wife were taken off the payroll. EMS Director Phil Clarke, his wife Lynn, and Aiken County are being investigated by SLED agents for problems with a donation account. It's just one of the big changes coming to the department that helps you in a hurry.

We talked to one couple who says this investigation is a complete shock, but they say change can be a good thing.

"Shocked, surprised, angry." That was Ardeena Lambert's reaction when we told her the county EMS director and his wife were off the payroll.

Aiken County Administrator Clay Killian tells News 12 an investigation is ongoing between SLED and the Sheriff's Office after concerns were found about financial issues and, more specifically, the donation account.

"I guess everybody has their problems. I don't think that'll affect the EMS services," says Donald Lambert.

Killian can not elaborate because the investigation is ongoing.

"Something must be dirty for them to have gotten this far," says Ardeena.

Phil and Lynn were taken off the payroll October 16th after being placed on administrative leave with pay since August 3rd. Donald and his wife say EMS services are still EMS services and they'll continue to donate.

"But I'll be a little more cautious as to what the money is for, who's taking care of it," says Ardeena.

Killian says minor restructuring changes are possible: "Making sure everything is running the way it's supposed to."

And that's not all. Two new stations are coming, one at the corner of Whiskey Road and Citadel Drive in Aiken and another in the Monetta area, and three existing stations are being remodeled. And that's news Ardeena is happy about after moving closer to the city because of her medical condition.

"The distance -- it was just terrible. I thought, 'Oh My God - I'm going to die before I get there'," says Ardeena.

Those remodeled stations are located at Silver Bluff High School, JD Lever and Oakwood-Windsor Elementary Schools. Right now, those stations are mobile homes. The total cost for all five stations is around $2 million, and that's all coming from the sales tax in Aiken County.

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