Audit released on what brought down Medstar

Audit released on what brought down Medstar

By Liza Fernandez. CREATED Oct 30, 2012

FORT MYERS, Fla. - We're getting our hands on an audit that answers what lead to the Medstar Mess and the ultimate grounding of the county's air ambulance service back in September.  

The report is short, but the conclusions are damning.

The county's own auditors say the public safety department had core management issues that ultimately lead to the shut down of Medstar.     

The director, John Wilson, was described as "hands off."

"John Wilson was not just hands off, he was fairly clueless," fired Medstar pilot "Mac" McAllister tells us.

McAllister has sat through every commission meeting since the program's decommissioning.

Reporter: "Mac, I forwarded you the audit. Do you feel vindicated by some of the findings?"

McAllister: "Some what, because I was concerned it wouldn't come out."

The audit also finding a "silo mentality" blocked the sharing of information at every level, including with the county manager and county commissioners.

The auditors discovered the root of the problem was the program's changing management structure and an unclear mission or vision.

"The clerk is saying, commission your management is unable to manage… is inept," adds commissioner Brian Bigelow.

And an ominous warning in the audit -- if the management culture does not change -- the  county's entire emergency medical services is at risk of "imploding."

A thought that saddens the pilot who spent more than 10 years at the controls of Mestar's helicopters: "Shame on them for bringing down a prideful program and of the oldest air ambulance programs in this country."

Both the former pilot and the county commissioner tell 4 In Your Corner, with the right team, the Medstar program could take to sky in about a month, billing for flights and recouping money for the taxpayers.