EMSA board discusses budget procedure changes, to reconvene in weeks

TULSA - A day after an audit blasted EMSA for lavish spending, the board members convened Wednesday to discuss future money handlings.

EMSA's board of trustees discussed possible changes for nearly an hour, ultimately deciding to wait several weeks before making any alterations to procedure.

The board did recommend they be alerted if any purchase exceeds $2,500.

Several parts of Tuesday's audit raised a few eyebrows, including a party costing $4,300 and nearly $1,000 in spa fees.

SEE THE AUDIT (http://bit.ly/EMSAaudit)

The news caused some to call for EMSA board members' jobs.

" It's this kind of Greed that's put OUR Country in the SAD State it's in NOW!!!!" wrote one 2NEWS Facebook user. "These people should be ashamed and if possible FIERD! "

"... DISGUSTING fire them all," wrote another.

Tulsa City Councilor Karen Gilbert also chimed in, calling for company action.

"You just can't have lavish spending when you're dealing with taxpayer dollars," she said. "So we've got to get to the root of it and find out why this happened, and make sure that it doesn't happen again."

Several board members sought to address issues with the service, namely ethical budget practices, but had conflicting ideas concerning EMSA's effectiveness.

Oklahoma City Councilman Dr. Ed Shadid said EMSA had experienced a "breakdown in governance" and a "lack of oversight on expenditures."

Dr. Jim Rodgers, of Tulsa, said while changes did need to be made, the situation may not be as bad as it seems.

"I don't think our governance is that bad ... or we couldn't turn that good of a product," he said.

This isn't the first time EMSA -- and its Chief Executive Officer Steve Williamson -- have faced complaints of inappropriate spending.

In 2009, records show he spent $500 on a hotel room and took officials out to dinner for $450.

The Tulsa City Council is set to consider a rate hike for EMSA customers in March.

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