CLARK COUNTY, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) — Clark County Ambulance and Marshall Fire Protection District Ambulance have finalized an agreement to complete a merger of ambulance services within Clark County.

“The county board voted to accept this agreement, so, we’re all in agreement and we’re ready to move forward,” Mike Murphy, President of the Marshal Fire Protection District said.

The agreement is an intergovernmental agreement between Marshal Fire Protection District and Clark County.

“The rest of the county is all serviced by Clark County Ambulance Service and the Marshall Fire Protection District has been serviced by the Fire Protection’s Ambulance Service. So, this will bring the whole county altogether into one,” Rex Goble, Clark County Board Chairman said.

Approved unanimously Monday night at the fire district meeting and adopted unanimously Tuesday morning in a Clark County Board special meeting.

“Hopefully in the long run things will improve,” Murphy said. “It’s been a struggle for several years now, being able to recruit enough help and it’s a problem that is all over southern Illinois. So, we’re trying to be proactive in doing what we think’s best to keep the service going.”

Goble said other than Clark County now printed on the ambulances and uniforms, Marshall residents shouldn’t notice a lot of change, Murphy agreed.

“It should just be kind of a smooth transfer,” Goble said.

“It should mean really no major change for us, just different management,” Murphy added.

Leaders are optimistic about improvement.

“We’re going to go full time on our side, which we weren’t, so there’ll be a little bit of improvement, should be a big improvement on response times on our side,” Goble said.

“We’re kind of in unchartered territory here, so, we’ll see how things go,” Murphy said. “I think it eventually will be an improvement.”

With the intergovernmental agreement comes a new director of ambulance services. Working with a national consulting firm, the board advertised the position and took applications. Goble said those applications came from all over the country. Eventually, narrowing it down to three candidates. During Friday’s meetings, the board voted to extend a job offer to their top candidate. That offer is said to be issued Tuesday.

“We waited on this vote to send it. But we’ve been in conversation with him and we’re pretty positive that he’s going to accept and come,” Goble said.

“I think it’ll be good. I’ve met the gentleman that they’ve been interviewing, and he seems well qualified, and I think he’ll do a good job. It’s quite a big task. but I think he’s up to it'” Murphy said.

The contract to merge the services will begin on November 1, 2023.