A county admin told EMS workers they should quit or kill themsel - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

A county admin told EMS workers they should quit or kill themselves if their job was bad

Kevin Bronson, seen here, said he's been punished for comments made during a meeting with Richland County EMS workers. (Source: LinkedIn) Kevin Bronson, seen here, said he's been punished for comments made during a meeting with Richland County EMS workers. (Source: LinkedIn)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Several Richland County EMS employees are making claims that a county administrator told them they should kill themselves or just quit if they are unhappy with their jobs. 

Kevin Bronson, the assistant county administrator for public safety, reportedly said those remarks during a Thursday morning meeting with about 100 Richland County EMS workers.

Bronson told EMS workers of a list of complaints he had received from an employee. The list, Bronson reportedly said, had been hanging over him.

We have received a list of grievances from a former paramedic with Richland County, Matt Gottlieb. It’s unclear if Gottlieb's list is the list Bronson was referencing before his comments. That list is an 8-page document of issues Gottlieb wished would be fixed.

"So I’m looking through this list with 50 different problems and if it’s really that bad you can just kill yourself or leave," Bronson reportedly said, according to one of the people in the audience.

"People were crying, people were yelling at him. One we just lost a deputy because of suicide. I don’t think he understands the gravity of the situation. We’re not here for the money, we’re here because we love what we do," the audience member said.

This comes on the heels of a WIS Investigation that spoke with several current and former Richland County EMS employees who claim a harsh work environment with issues such as understaffing, underfunding, management concerns, long response times, and in some cases, completely preventable deaths due to those long response times.

Richland County is one of the busiest counties in the state, responding to close to 70,000 calls a year and increasing, according to several sources who we spoke with during our investigation

Those same sources also say nearly 100 people have quit in the past several years.

"There was the final straw, but several things that were gnawing on me for a while," Matt Gottlieb said. "The biggest one that was gnawing on me, I can't get you a lot of detail because of HIPPA [law]. But let's just say that a patient didn't get the best care and died because of it."

We attempted to contact Bronson directly by visiting his office Friday morning, but we were met by county public information director Beverly Harris, who said Bronson was only available through appointment.

Harris also said the county would not be issuing a comment.

"We're not going to comment on something that was said at an internal employee meeting," Harris said.

Instead, we've since learned Bronson apologized to EMS workers through an e-mail forwarded to us by a source close to the situation.

In the letter, Bronson said his comments were "inappropriate and insensitive."

"Those comments are my own and, while I regret them, I must live by them," Bronson wrote.

Bronson went on to say in the letter that he has received some type of punishment for his comments, but that punishment has not been made public. 

"The disciplinary action I received was appropriate and the time I spent in the woodshed was both painful and appropriate," Bronson said.

Bronson also called upon his own experience with suicide, saying he lost a family member to it after he completed college.

"The pain of losing her in that matter is deep and everlasting," Bronson said. "I should not have allowed either the heat of the moment nor the situation to lead to a moment of such callousness."

Bronson, in the letter, also promised to respond to the concerns addressed by EMS employees.

Richland County Administrator Gerald Seals also released a statement, saying Bronson's comments were "inappropriate" and "cavalier."

"While public recounting of the incident has been mischaracterized, the fact that such comments were made will not be tolerated. Although this Assistant Administrator promptly apologized, more needed to be done – and he has been disciplined. On behalf of Richland County, I also apologize for what happened and regret that an employee in the Administrator’s Office spoke in such a manner. I am committed to ensuring all County employees know they are valued and respected," the statement said.

** 8/14/17 UPDATE: Kevin Bronson submitted his resignation on Monday morning. Read more here.

Copyright 2017 WIS. All rights reserved.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Hot and sunny

    FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Hot and sunny

    Thursday, July 19 2018 3:54 AM EDT2018-07-19 07:54:25 GMT
    Hourly heat index for today (Source: KPLC)Hourly heat index for today (Source: KPLC)
    Hourly heat index for today (Source: KPLC)Hourly heat index for today (Source: KPLC)

    Through the day today expect hot and mostly sunny conditions. Feels-like temperatures expected to reach between 100-105 this afternoon. I can’t rule out a pop-up afternoon shower, but chances remain low. Most of us will remain dry through the day today and overnight.

    More >>

    Through the day today expect hot and mostly sunny conditions. Feels-like temperatures expected to reach between 100-105 this afternoon. I can’t rule out a pop-up afternoon shower, but chances remain low. Most of us will remain dry through the day today and overnight.

    More >>
  • 'SenioRx' program helps seniors save money on prescriptions

    'SenioRx' program helps seniors save money on prescriptions

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 11:43 PM EDT2018-07-19 03:43:18 GMT
    "A lot of times, seniors have to choose whether they want to pay for their groceries and eat or get their medicines to stay healthy," Angie Herr, Director of Programs at the Calcasieu Council on Aging, said."A lot of times, seniors have to choose whether they want to pay for their groceries and eat or get their medicines to stay healthy," Angie Herr, Director of Programs at the Calcasieu Council on Aging, said.
    "A lot of times, seniors have to choose whether they want to pay for their groceries and eat or get their medicines to stay healthy," Angie Herr, Director of Programs at the Calcasieu Council on Aging, said."A lot of times, seniors have to choose whether they want to pay for their groceries and eat or get their medicines to stay healthy," Angie Herr, Director of Programs at the Calcasieu Council on Aging, said.

    The SenioRx program started over ten years ago, to help seniors get their medication for free or at extremely reduced prices. Just last year the program saved clients more than $700,000. "A lot of times, seniors have to choose whether they want to pay for their groceries and eat or get their medicines to stay healthy," Angie Herr, Director of Programs at the Calcasieu Council on Aging, said. Long term illness and maintenance medications are covered...

    More >>

    The SenioRx program started over ten years ago, to help seniors get their medication for free or at extremely reduced prices. Just last year the program saved clients more than $700,000. "A lot of times, seniors have to choose whether they want to pay for their groceries and eat or get their medicines to stay healthy," Angie Herr, Director of Programs at the Calcasieu Council on Aging, said. Long term illness and maintenance medications are covered...

    More >>
  • SWLA students return from Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington, D.C.

    SWLA students return from Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington, D.C.

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 10:01 PM EDT2018-07-19 02:01:37 GMT
    BECi Youth Tour delegates Lucy Stark, Jacey Merchant, Shekinah Jordan and Caleb Gore visit Capitol Hill during the 2018 Youth Tour. (Source: BECi)BECi Youth Tour delegates Lucy Stark, Jacey Merchant, Shekinah Jordan and Caleb Gore visit Capitol Hill during the 2018 Youth Tour. (Source: BECi)
    BECi Youth Tour delegates Lucy Stark, Jacey Merchant, Shekinah Jordan and Caleb Gore visit Capitol Hill during the 2018 Youth Tour. (Source: BECi)BECi Youth Tour delegates Lucy Stark, Jacey Merchant, Shekinah Jordan and Caleb Gore visit Capitol Hill during the 2018 Youth Tour. (Source: BECi)

    Four Southwest Louisiana students returns from a trip to Washington, D.C. for the 54th Annual Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. BECi sponsored Caleb Gore and Lucy Stark of South Beauregard High School, Jacey Merchant of Pitkin High School and Shekinah Jordan of Westlake High School. The students joined more than 2,000 others from 46 states for the annual program. “The purpose of this worthwhile program is to give local students a chance to develop leadership skills, l...

    More >>

    Four Southwest Louisiana students returns from a trip to Washington, D.C. for the 54th Annual Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. BECi sponsored Caleb Gore and Lucy Stark of South Beauregard High School, Jacey Merchant of Pitkin High School and Shekinah Jordan of Westlake High School. The students joined more than 2,000 others from 46 states for the annual program. “The purpose of this worthwhile program is to give local students a chance to develop leadership skills, l...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly