Emergency response was on the mind of the Ellis County Commission on Tuesday as it discussed several initiatives concerning employees and public safety.

Kerry McCue, director of Emergency Medical Services, is requesting the hire of additional employees. The county is under a hiring freeze, and department heads need commission approval to hire new employees.

Commissioner Barbara Wasinger said the commission was confused about the overtime numbers, and it needs to understand more about the out-of-town transfers and part-time employees.

McCue said it had $25,000 in overtime during the last eight payrolls.

Im still struggling to understand why there is so much overtime, said Commissioner Dean Haselhorst.

McCue said they staff four trucks with two employees 24 hours a day, and he had presented that information already.

Commissioners will meet with McCue and the county attorney to discuss the issue.

Due to safety concerns, the commissioners approved sending out bids for a lift for the public works department. Shop foreman Mark Polifka said the old lift, which is an in-ground lift, has started to lean in due to loss of mortar in the blocks in the pit.

There also are signs of rusting and leaking hydraulic oil at the front post main seal. Polifka said he prefers mobile lifts instead of an in-ground system so they can be used on trucks as well.

The cost of the in-ground lifts is $30,000 more than the mobile lifts.

Rural Fire Department Director Darin Myers reported on the replacement of bunker gear for the department for safety concerns. He is emphasizing taking good care of bunker gear.

Bunker gear costs between $1,400 and $2,000 per set and needs to be replaced every 15 years, Myers said. Some of the gear in the department is 25 to 27 years old.

We still have a lot of old gear, Myers said. Its within our budget to replace this gear.

The fire chief said the city of Victoria will buy two sets for every two the county buys. Some of the volunteers there also volunteer for the Victoria city fire department.

He also said they have applied for a grant for 20 sets of gear in Ellis.

Myers has received bids for the gear and wanted to meet with Wasinger during the next few weeks to discuss the bids.

In other business, the commission:

Heard a request to advertise surplus equipment from the public works department for sale on Purple Wave. Haselhorst will review the items with management.

Temporarily moved the payroll employee to the county clerks office. There is only one employee in the department.

Discussed meeting each Monday night of the month until a new administrator is hired.