Monday, October 22, 2018 | 6:33 AM
Eleven municipalities share responsibility for appointing board members to the Quaker Valley Ambulance Authority. Sewickley council recently made a new appointment to fill a vacancy on the multi-municipal authority, one of the few in Pennsylvania.
At an Oct. 16 council session, elected officials appointed Ed O’Donnell, of Sewickley, to the ambulance authority board, according to an email from council President Jeff Neff.
J.R. Henry, executive director and chief of the Quaker Valley Ambulance Authority, told the Sewickley Herald that O’Donnell will serve a five-year term on the all-volunteer board, comprised of one representative from each municipality the authority serves.
Council interviewed O’Donnell during its regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 9. O’Donnell, who works in software, told council during the meeting that he moved to Sewickley from Nevada almost two years ago. He highlighted his experience as a volunteer, as well.
“I’ve always volunteered my time. I was on the board of directors for a couple years for the American Red Cross back in Nevada, I was on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Club for 11 years, and I was on the board of directors of the local charter school for a few years,” O’Donnell said at the meeting.
Since moving to Sewickley, O’Donnell said he has become involved with Cochran Hose Company, where he serves as a volunteer firefighter.
He will fill the board position vacated by David Thomas, who represented Sewickley on the ambulance authority board for 29 years, according to Henry. Thomas recently retired and plans to move out-of-state.
Board members approve budgets and purchases like ambulances and wheelchair vans. They also make major policy decisions on behalf of the authority. Sewickley is currently the largest municipality the authority serves.
“The board of directors is the municipalities’ oversight of our operation,” Henry added.
According to its webpage, the Quaker Valley Ambulance Authority, a nonprofit, oversees two mobile intensive care ambulances and a wheelchair van, part of a combined fleet it shares with Valley Ambulance Authority, the first municipal ambulance authority in the U.S.
Only six municipal authorities currently exist in Pennsylvania, according to Henry.
“Quaker Valley formed in 1974, so they were the second municipal authority in the entire nation, actually, to form, and it’s been a very successful model for us,” Henry said.
Sam Bojarski is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.