June 29, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Litchfield fire chief might learn fate on Monday

LITCHFIELD TWP. — Joyce Teodecki may learn Monday if she has a future with the Litchfield Fire Department.

Township trustees, who placed the fire chief on paid administrative leave June 9, have ordered Teodecki to attend their meeting Monday night.

Trustee Dennis Horvath said Teodecki was placed on leave pending the outcome of an investigation of the Fire Department.

“The board just wants the investigation to be completed,” Horvath said. “When that is done, we’ll make our decisions from there.”

He said he could not comment on what action, if any, would be taken Monday night regarding the department or its chief.

Teodecki’s paramedic privileges were revoked in March after Dr. David Levine, Medina Hospital’s emergency medical service’s medical director, told trustees she no longer had Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification, even though Teodecki said she did.

“They’ve made a big issue out of it to destroy me,” Teodecki said Tuesday. “And that’s what they’ve done. They destroyed me.”

In January, trustees hired a former Brunswick detective, Sgt. Joseph McDermott, of Akron, to investigate the department.

Trustees declined to comment on any details of the investigation, including the relevance of a software contract dispute.

On Tuesday, trustees held a special meeting to sign a check for $860 to Penn Care Software Division, the company the department uses to log its EMS runs. The check covered the township’s fees since January, when trustees said they discovered they did not have a legal contract with the company.

Trustee Nancy Wargo said the agreement was not authorized by trustees or the prosecutor’s office, two requirements for it to be legal.

Teodecki said she told trustees in January 2010 the department would begin using Penn Care for logging runs electronically and was never told she needed a contract. The only paperwork signed, she said, was an agreement that the department would comply with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in its use of the software.

“They were fully aware of what I was doing, and they didn’t care,” Teodecki said. “Now they want contracts.”

A contract is in the works and will be presented at a future trustees meeting, Wargo said, but the funds had to be sent as soon as possible to ensure personnel could continue using the system while negotiations continue.

Wargo said the company revoked the township’s ability to print out hard copies of information in the system last week as a result of the unpaid bill, but emergency medical staff still were able to input and access patient information as needed.

Teodecki has been with the volunteer Litchfield department since 1977 and its chief since 1999. Assistant Fire Chief Bill Eyring is serving as interim chief.

Contact Jennifer Pignolet at (330) 721-4063 or jpignolet@medina-gazette.com.