Jim Gertsema steps down as Murray County's EMS directorSLAYTON — Murray County Emergency Management Services Director Jim Gertsema resigned his position Tuesday after being put on administrative leave late last week, according to Murray County Commissioner Bob Moline.
SLAYTON — Murray County Emergency Management Services Director Jim Gertsema resigned his position Tuesday after being put on administrative leave late last week, according to Murray County Commissioner Bob Moline.
An emergency board meeting took place Aug. 18 “for the purpose of allowing the Board to consider complaints” against Gertsema, an agenda of the meeting states.
“There was a meeting and there were things we needed to discuss,” Moline confirmed. “He was put on paid suspension for a couple of days, then resigned his position.”
Murray County Human Resources Director Katie Meyer said she could not confirm or deny a rumor that Gertsema was told he could resign or would be fired.
“I can only report he was put on leave, then the board accepted his resignation at a follow-up meeting,” she stated.
Moline said he could not comment on what kind of complaints were received regarding Gertsema, but reiterated that he was not fired.
Gertsema confirmed Moline’s statement.
“I did resign my position as EMS coordinator,” Gertsema said. “I did something wrong as far as county policy goes, and I resigned. That is the statement I was told to make if anyone asked.”
Gertsema was in the position of EMS director for three years, and, according to a first responder in one of Murray County’s towns, accomplished a lot in that time.
“He set up a lot of good programs and worked so hard to teach so many people CPR,” the responder stated, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “He’s a very dedicated EMT, and that’s what Murray County needs.”
The responder said Gertsema made sure the first responder and rescue units around the county had the tools, supplies and knowledge they needed to save lives.
“He made sure we had access to further training and were taken care of,” the responder stated. “He was always helpful and very determined to keep the ambulance program running in the best way possible.”
In 2009, Gertsema set a goal of getting more people in Murray County CPR-certified, stating that getting as many people as possible certified in CPR and first aid would save lives. Gertsema worked with the ambulance crew and others to train teachers and students, daycare providers and the majority of people who work at the Murray County Government Center. Ironically, he also trained and certified the members of the board of commissioners.
In one year’s time, Gertsema was instrumental in getting slightly less than 900 people in the county certified in CPR, including staff at banks, parks and other area businesses. He had fallen short of the 1,000 people he’d hoped for, he said in January 2010, but didn’t intent to stop pushing for more. His final tally at the end of the year was 892.
“Having that many people trained to save a life — that’s a big deal,” he said.
Gertsema has been the ambulance director in Murray County since 1996 and an EMT since 1981.