Changing of the guard at E-911

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 7, 2001

The Butler County Emergency Communications District at its regular monthly meeting Wednesday appointed a new chairperson.

The "E-911 Board", as it is known, met on Wednesday morning, and all but Mayor Lynn Watson of Georgiana were present.

Daniel Robinson, who has been the chairperson of the board for 2 years, chose to step down from the position, after serving his second one-year term.

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"I am anticipating more responsibilities with the Butler County Commission, and with that in mind, I need to step down as chairperson and allow someone else to take the task," Robinson said.

A motion was made by Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon, and seconded by Fire Chief Mike Phillips to appoint Sheriff Diane Harris already serving as vice-chairperson, to the position of chairperson.

After no other nominations were presented, they were closed, and the board voted unanimously to appoint Harris as the new chairperson.

This created a vacancy in the position of vice-chairperson.

A motion presented by McLendon and Phillips to appoint Police Chief Lonzo Ingram as vice-chairperson passed unanimously, creating an additional vacancy, the position of treasurer.

Commissioner Robinson presented a motion, seconded by McLendon to appoint Chief Phillips as the treasurer, and the measure passed unanimously.

In other business, the minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

Next, Chief Phillips presented a proposed pay scale for the board's consideration.

"The purpose of this pay scale is to provide uniformity to the pay ranges (of District employees), and to create defined positions of Dispatcher I, II and III, and also a mapping and addressing supervisor," Phillips said.

After passing out copies of the proposed scale to the members, Chief Phillips offered information for the group's consideration.

"Our employees are already working beyond these steps, performing more duties than their present pay-ranges provide for, and have been for a long time now, especially the two senior-most employees."

District Director Janice Stamps echoed the point made by Phillips.

"My two most senior employees are far exceeding the duties defined by their present pay ranges, and there needs to be an exception made for them if the scale is adopted," Stamps said.

A motion was presented by McLendon and seconded by Phillips to adopt the plan, noting that changes will have to be made to allow for the two current senior employees. The motion carried unanimously.

Next, Chairperson Harris discussed turnover rates with regard to employees.

"I know that just like at the Sheriff's Department and Police Department, we have expenses here when it comes to training new employees-they must reimburse the agencies for training if they resign from employment prior to completion of a specified obligation of service," Harris said. "There is nothing in place here to ensure that we are not training dispatchers for another department or agency, should they decide that the grass is greener somewhere else."

Stamps reminded the board that this issue had come up before, and had been tabled.

"I would suggest that a service contract be drawn up, to be entered into with the newly-hired employee, just like at the city, and if they terminate voluntarily while bound by that contract, they must reimburse the district for their training," said McLendon.

"There is the question of how much money is actually spent on training, since much of it occurs in-house," said Phillips.

McLendon suggested that the chairperson appoint a committee to develop a plan for the matter.

"I will appoint Mayors Dexter McLendon and Betty Stinson to work with Ms. Stamps on the issue, and report back their findings to the Board at it's next meeting," Harris said.

Next, the chairperson returned to discussing turnover rates in employment.

"I think we need to have three board members who can review the process of hiring new employees, and would ask for volunteers to do such," Harris said.

"I strongly object against the board taking away my responsibility to hire our employees," Stamps said. "I was hired by this Board to do a job, and have done so effectively-this agency does not have as high a turnover-rate as others, and the two employees that have been terminated by me were done so for sub-standard job performance.

"The only other employee that has left, chose to do so herself, for personal reasons-I don't blame anyone who chooses to leave a job for their own reasons," she said.

"A lot of agencies have personnel committees," said McLendon. "Perhaps the new chair should explore the process."

"In the past, the procedure has been that the director comes to the chairperson saying, I have hired someone, here is their information', and then the chairperson presents it to the board," said Ingram.

In its final business, Chief Phillips discussed changing the day of the board's meetings.

"I would like to make a motion that we change our meeting day to the last Tuesday of the month, and keep the time at 8:30 a.m., to avoid a conflict with anyone's schedules."

The motion received a second by McLendon, and then was passed unanimously.

After Harris adjourned the meeting, Robinson was presented with a certificate of appreciation for his service as board chairperson.