The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Opinion

July 16, 2014

Viewpoint: Dispatchers should not lose wages, benefits

In regard to the plan to combine the city and county dispatch centers to one unit:

Since this has come up it has pointed out a shameful tragedy of a group of employees in a life-saving unit of government. The city’s emergency dispatch operators haven’t had a pay raise in about 10 years.

All city emergency calls, between 50,000 and 60,000 a year, come into the (911) City Dispatch Center. A call to (911) emergency dispatch can be a baby is not breathing, an older person not breathing, a serious auto accident, a shooting, a house fire, suicide. All of this panic and screaming, those emergency dispatch operators are trained to be cool and calm, and they are.

If we knew the number of lives the emergency dispatch operators, the fire department, medics and police department have saved over many, many years it would boggle your mind, and everyone just takes it for granted.

The County Dispatch Committee wants to cut the pay of city dispatchers. This is the same county that wrote a check to a lawyer for $27,000, a goodbye present when he left the county.

A community is judged by the attitude it has for its people. Local government has no respect for workers, except its high-paid friends.

As for health care, the county has a lousy health care plan, the city has a lousy health care plan, that is costing local taxpayers millions of dollars. I guess you just flip a coin and see which louse comes up first.

Take the unit with the highest pay, make all dispatchers make equal pay. No dispatcher should lose one cent of wages and keep their seniority and benefits.

If the committee cannot bring this agreement to the City Council, what should the City Council’s answer be? It’s simple: No deal.

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