LEE COUNTY, Fla.- J.A. Stakenburg, former chief of operations for Lee County Emergency Management, is speaking on the record for the first time about the Medstar mess. He says: the county is capable of running the medical flight program.
"There were some good people in that program. It can be county-run. But it will take a change in the culture in Public Safety. It may take some new people at the top, to get it running properly," he told WINK News.
Stakenburg worked for Lee for five and a half years. He quit last spring, after in-fighting with now retired director John Wilson.
"There was such a negative atmosphere in that division. If you made a suggestion on something, how to do it better, you became the problem. That happnened to me. My suggestions to John Wilson made me the problem," Stakenburg said.
He says, grounding the Medstar choppers in a new hangar, is a slap the taxpayer. "They ought to get what they paid for," he said. The Medstar program has an annual budget of $3 million. It is being funded, even when grounded.
Some people are promoting Stakenburg as a possible replacement for Wilson as public safety director.
"I have told the county administration that I will be glad to help. I had a number of right ideas, despite what Mr. Wilson wrote of my performance," Stakenburg said.