Investigation reveals unorganized, struggling Aiken EMS

By: Gene Petriello Email
By: Gene Petriello Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock, December 7, 2007

AIKEN CTY --- A husband and wife lost their jobs with Aiken County EMS in October. Now, a state investigation report explains what went wrong.

Missing money, using sticky notes for filing documents-- all leading to what Aiken County EMS workers say is an unorganized and struggling department.

The Aiken County EMS Investigation is closed, but there are still unsolved questions. News 12 has a copy of the SLED investigation into the EMS Director and his wife.

"Money should be going to where it needs to be going," says Annette Distasio who lives in Aiken.

SLED found this, the donation account, which is handled only in cash- has more than 1,250 dollars taken in from undocumented sources. Instead of being used for the department, some of the donation account money used to buy food and gifts for EMS employees.

Some questioning if they should donate at all.

But the review did not show the Director Phil Clarke took the money himself. SLED also finding this - in the county issued credit card account: purchases like food, gift bags and picture frames. Which could be considered personal. And more importantly, not allowed by the county.

But again, no criminal misuse for specific personal use of the cards. The report goes on. Other EMS employees interviewed by SLED saying, sticky notes were used to keep track of the donation account.

"Oh yeah, that's not good. First of all, you can lose them because we all do that. And secondly, it needs to be written documentation," says Annette.

Some are keeping the faith, but others say they don't trust them anymore.

There were also problems with mileage reimbursements. Lynn Clarke reporting more than 250 miles than she actually drove on two different occasions.

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  • by Dollar Location: New Holland on Dec 10, 2007 at 05:09 PM
    Just one dollar spent on personal expenses is misconduct in office for a public official charged with the responsibility of managing a public donation account. Charles Walker and Michael Vick were fine men too!!!
  • by Joey Location: Graniteville on Dec 9, 2007 at 09:52 AM
    Judge Joey Addie gets charged for misconduct in office and embezzlement, Judge Charles Carter gets charged for misconduct in office and sexual misconduct for just knowing about his secretary having a fling with an inmate, but when Phil Clarke runs up thousands in cell phone and personal expenses using public funds our solicitor turns a blind eye because he's a political ally?
  • by Misconduct Location: Aiken on Dec 8, 2007 at 06:51 PM
    Phil Clarke was the director of the Aiken County EMS Department and should be held accountable for misdconduct in office as a public official. SLED recommended that charges be brought against him, but his friend Solicitor Barbara Morgan wrote a letter to her buddy Captain Grant requesting that and arrest not be issued by SLED, although her office would not be responsible for prosecuting the charge. This action in an of itself is misconduct and obstruction of justice. SLED should be investigating the solicitor for even getting involved with the investigation and trying to get the embezzlement and misconduct charges for getting filed by the so-called independent SLED law enforcement organization.
  • by shannon Location: aiken on Dec 8, 2007 at 10:21 AM
    This post is to Jane...Well said, more people than you realize fell the same way.
  • by Jane Location: Aiken on Dec 7, 2007 at 03:42 PM
    This Man was a fine Director to EMS, and a great Paramedic. I've known him professionally for over 15 years,and I am confident this is a gross misunderstanding and if guilty of anything maybe less- than- stellar record keeping. Many, I would dare say 75% of EMS Agencies have "Funds" set up, that fellow Paramedics contribute to for flowers, gifts, memorials, and awards to employees and family members in tragic and celebratory times. I think one should excerise judgement in placing a personal opinion without facts or knowing anything but what the news reports, as we all know is usually biased in an effort to malign characters.
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