Both contested races for the Pettis County Ambulance District include familiar faces — both have incumbents being challenged by candidates who ran for the position during the last election. PCAD Subdistrict 1 voters will choose between incumbent Dave Clippert and challenger Tim Padgett in the April 5 municipal election.
Padgett has a background in emergency medical services in the area, working as part of the Pettis County Fire District and the local EMS community for about 10 years, starting as an EMT and working his way up to a paramedic. He is also the co-owner of Black Dawn Manufacturing & Coating.
He ran for the position in 2012, losing to Clippert. He said he wants to be elected to help the district grow and because he believes he would be a “good voice for the district.”
“I’d like to make a difference in what’s going on,” Padgett said of his decision to run. “I think some changes could be made and some improvements could be put back on track.”
He said one of the top issues that needs to be addressed in the near future by PCAD is looking at how the district spends its tax revenue money.
“I wouldn’t be able to say anything until I got in there, but I think the budgetary expenses need to be looked at for the taxpayers’ sake,” he said.
One of the biggest decisions made by PCAD in the past year was the decision to provide service to the Windsor Ambulance District, which began March 3. Padgett didn’t take a positive or negative stance toward the issue.
“I think it should’ve been explored more in depth before making decisions on both parties,” he said.
PCAD is a relatively new district, as it was approved by voters in April 2012 and operations began in October 2013. Padgett gave his thoughts on where the district should be headed in the next few years.
“I see the district having the potential of being one of the best trained, best supplied, best services in the state of Missouri, easily,” he said. “And being a place people would want to come work at and create a career in. It can also, I believe, have the capabilities of helping the community grow in education and services.
“Until I could actually get into the board meetings and gather all the facts, I wouldn’t be able to actually say how that could happen,” he added.
Padgett said his goals, if elected, are to “improve the district and continue to grow it and make it the best it can be.”
He said he would have an “open door policy” when it comes to talking with constituents and that he would “dig around to get the information to be able to answer the question with facts instead of just diverting the question.”
“I don’t have alternative agendas and I truly want to do what’s best for the citizens of the county and the district, for the employees and the citizens,” he said of why citizens should vote for him.
Clippert has served as director of the Sedalia-Pettis County Emergency Management Agency for almost nine years and has been on the PCAD board since the district was formed.
He served at Whiteman Air Force Base from 1993 to 1998. Since then he has been a stay-at-home dad, worked at Yeager’s Harley Davidson, and as a Public Health Emergency Planner with the Pettis County Health Center for four years. After working in emergency management at Whiteman for two years, he was hired at SPCEMA.
“I think we have come such a long ways from when we established the ambulance district. We still have a little ways to go and I would like to see that through to the end of that part,” Clippert said of his decision to seek re-election.
Clippert said one of the top issues for PCAD is simply keeping up with changes in technology and regulations in the EMS industry.
“EMS is continually changing and it’s getting more and more advanced and the equipment they use is getting more and more advanced,” he said. “Luckily we have a great training crew that do this high tech training with this high tech equipment for the medics and paramedics that work there. There are just so many changes coming down the pike and that are going to continue.”
The decision to provide service to WAD has citizens divided, and Clippert said he doesn’t blame them, as he was originally opposed to the idea.
“We were in a meeting talking, not with any members of Windsor, and (PCAD Administrator) Mike Gardner brought up a couple things that had happened down there,” Clippert explained. “One was the death of a baby and another was a boy playing rec football and was knocked unconscious and it took an hour for an ambulance to get there. Once he said that, I really thought to myself, ‘OK, how are we going to do this?’ It started coming together. We realized we could do this, we would have to put some money out front at first but it’s going to get repaid.
“For at least a five-year period, Windsor will have some ambulance services down there. When you look at it from that perspective of it, we’re not chasing after their money but we are providing a life-saving service down in that area. These are our neighbors. I can understand how some people may not like that, but in no way are we leaving our district with less service.”
Clippert offered some specific ideas as to where he sees the district headed in the next few years.
“Over the next five years we will build the main headquarters building (on 16th Street) and I see a very extensive training opportunity with that, that we will be able to bring in quite a few more area responders to come in and get training there and we’ll have a larger classroom facility, and the idea that we will be right next to the Sedalia Fire Department facilitates even more in-depth training,” he said. “… I see us keep expanding. The number of calls keeps increasing.”
As for goals for office, Clippert said he would like to see the beginning of the future PCAD Headquarters.
“I do not foresee running for this office after this three-year term if I’m elected, so being able to see maybe at least the groundbreaking of the headquarters building would be a nice thing to see, if we get to that point,” he said.
He added that while the upcoming headquarters will be a “big leap and bound,” other smaller progress such as adding another ambulance or crew will continue.
“I’m already in the position and from my position as the emergency manager I’ve been involved with the district from creation up to this,” Clippert said of why citizens should vote for him. “My experience is there, I know what’s going on, I stop in and talk with the paramedics and medics as I get a chance. I think getting PCAD here was a great thing. So many wonderful things have happened because of that and I would like to continue on.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.