County 911 center asks for higher pay, more staff

B y Jaime Thomas

Emergency communicators in Washington County are handling a higher volume of calls with less help.

Jack Rogers, a labor relations representative for the county’s 911 communication center, addressed the county board of supervisors at a monthly meeting Friday morning.

“Please consider this issue of the lack of employees in this stressful and valuable job. The liability and protection of the citizens of Washington County start here. Please don’t wait until something terrible happens,” said Rogers. He called the workers the heart and soul of the community.

He said the United Public Service Employees Union is worried about the safety of members, whom he described as underpaid, under-helped and overworked. The union feels it needs more full-time employees so staff can handle the high volume of calls.

Rogers gave the board statistics to support his claims. The center handled more than 2,700 more incidents or an almost 13 percent jump in the past year. And despite the doubled workload and expanding service coverage, Rogers said there hasn’t been a proper response in the communication center force.

“The addition of the Hudson Falls Police Department has increased the calls for service tremendously, with no new assistance at the consoles,” Rogers said.

“Our union is concerned for the safety and well-being of our members and the public,” he said. The board of supervisors listened to his presentation but made no action Friday.

On Monday John Rymph, chairman of the board, said Rogers’ news was nothing new.

“We pretty much dealt with some of it. It’s an ongoing thing,” he said. He said the board didn’t realize emergency call responders were taking many non-emergency calls.

“We’re taking steps now so they don’t have to do that,” he said. The union is now in negotiation for a new contract, and Rymph said the board will discuss how much new help is needed.

The remainder of the meeting was quick and rote; supervisors accepted previous meetings’ minutes and introduced and approved various resolutions.

Rymph recognized and welcomed a young Norwegian woman, who just arrived to study abroad in Hudson Falls for a year. She is staying with the family of Roger Wickes.

“I just thought I’d introduce her and thought it would be a nice thing for her. It’s a nice program,” he said.

When Rymph opened the floor for discussion, Argyle Supervisor Robert Henke raised a challenge.

“Once again we have to throw out a milking contest at the fair. I figured since Hartford has the dairy princess, I figured he’d milk,” Henke said, referring to Hartford Supervisor Dana Haff, who accepted the challenge.

The next board of supervisor’s regular meeting will take place Friday, Sept. 20 at 10 a.m.

Comments

comments

Read more in this week's Sentinel in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Read more in this week's Times in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Weekender – 08/28/15

Lakes Classifieds – 08/28/15

Lakes Region Freepress – 08/28/15

Northshire Freepress – 08/28/15

Classifieds 08/27/15

Washington County Fair in full swing

407624_345593242132090_322483287_n

By Linda Ellingsworth There’s still plenty of time to experience the excitement of the Washington County Fair. A celebration of […]

Coin drops hurt by bridge work

Bridge

By Dan King Those who volunteer their time to serve the people of Whitehall say their coin drop operations have […]

Working together: town, village fixing waterline

DSC_1921

By Dan King For the past week and a half the town and village of Whitehall have been working together […]

Washington County Board opposes Common Core

Schulz 2

By Dan King The third time was indeed a charm for Hartford Supervisor Dana Haff and activist Bob Schulz. Haff […]

Townwide sale next weekend

Lawn sale 006

By Dan King Bargain seekers will converge on Whitehall Labor Day Weekend, as they seek the best deals around. The […]

Three vying for public safety position

By Christina Scanlon Washington County supervisors have narrowed the field to three candidates for county public safety director and will […]

Recycled teens applauded

By Christina Scanlon Nine honorary members of the Mettowee Valley Senior Citizens were honored last week at a luncheon filled […]