SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) — Sunday, Sedgwick County Emergency Medical Services will get a new interim director, Kevin Lanterman.
Sedgwick County spent the last week deciding who would take over former leader John Gallagher.
Gallagher resigned after an investigation into his leadership.
“We don’t want Kevin just to keep the chair warm we want him to move the department forward,” said Tom Stolz, Sedgwick County Manager.
Lanterman has spent 29 years in Sedgwick County County EMS.
“As a shift commander, he’s operational,” explained Stolz. “So, he’s out on the street with the men and women. I feel like he was the best choice for someone who could bring that street-level knowledge to administration.”
“I think he’s a good person who knows exactly what we need to get us back on track and get us to a place where we could better take care of the citizens that we serve,” said Emily Howell, a paramedic with Sedgwick County EMS.
Howell says many in the department feel this is a step in the right direction after the recent controversy.
“It’s a step toward healing and I think we’re all kind of hopeful that things will get better and that we’ll get back to where we were and I think we’re cautiously optimistic,” said Howell.
Stolz said a big focus for Lanterman will be to address the shortage of paramedics, “We’re at, you know 20 paramedics down, plus or minus there. So, he’s going to look for solutions to keep as many trucks on the street as possible. He’s got some ideas on that, that he’ll roll and then get back to the business of recruiting.”
Howell says this move can improve morale, “Because we’re going to be less stressed, less overworked. We’re going to have more of a camaraderie feeling that we’ve had before.”
Lanterman will be in the position anywhere from two to six months, however long it takes to find a permanent director. Stolz says Lanterman will help in that search.