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Ambulance director loses job

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By Damon Lawrence

Gloria Wright is no longer director of the Roane County ambulance department. She was informed about the county's desire to go in another direction on Monday.

"We asked Gloria to basically take a position lower than what she's at now," Roane County Executive Ron Woody said.

Woody said Office of Emergency Services Director Howie Rose and consultant Jack Jinks will manage the ambulance department on an interim basis.

"Until we do a search or determine exactly what we need to do," he said.

The move was the latest in a series of changes the ambulance department has experienced this year. Wright laid off two employees in the billing department in January. The Roane County Commission later voted to outsource the billing to a private company.

Woody decided the ambulance department was in need of some more "hands-on" management, so in February he assigned Jinks to oversee the operation.

"His job is to go in there and observe," Woody said in February. "Interview the employees, fact finding mission and then to look at any changes that we may need to make."

Woody said issues still persisted, despite the hands-on management and changes to billing.

"We haven't gotten our overtime issue straightened out yet," he said. "We have had various meetings, and we were needing some reports and we just had some issues, so we decided this was time to make another change in county government for the better, we think."

Woody said Wright was still an employee of the county.

"We let her off the remainder of today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday) and told her we expect to see her Wednesday morning," he said.

Whether Wright will show up and take on a lesser position remains to be seen. She declined a request for comment as she left the ambulance building in Midtown on Monday.

Wright drove off with personal belongings that had been in her office packed inside her vehicle.

For more on this story, read Wednesday's edition of the Roane County News.