Friday, April 12, 2024

Dispatch consolidation, part-time employee benefits up for discussion Tuesday

A James City County house sustained extensive damage after it caught fire in 2017. (WYDaily/Courtesy of James City County)
A James City County house sustained extensive damage after it caught fire in 2017. (WYDaily/Courtesy of James City County)

The fate of James City County’s dispatch center and operations will come before the Board of Supervisors for discussion and guidance this week.

The board will meet Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. for its regular monthly work session.

On the agenda: A discussion with County Administrator Scott Stevens about the need for new dispatch software in the future — and whether that need will result in a consolidation with York County’s dispatch center.

The agenda does not include any documents for the discussion, but Stevens has previously said the county’s computer-aided dispatch system is in need of an upgrade.

Deputy Police Chief Steve Rubino also said the separate records management system used by police will no longer be “developed as robustly after next year,” which recently sold.

RELATED STORY: In need of new software, James City County weighs merging dispatch center with York

Together, those items could cost several million dollars, although the exact amount is not yet known. Administrators have not determined how the county will proceed, but are weighing whether it is best to buy new software or merge the center with the York-Poquoson-Williamsburg 911 Emergency Communications Center.

Some community members have created a petition online to keep dispatch in the county.

A Facebook group called “Save Our Dispatchers” was also created to monitor the issue. 

Stevens said he has created a system to weigh the pros and cons of keeping dispatch in-house or merging with York. He expected to present that information to the board during Tuesday’s work session.

The decision will need to be made in the upcoming few months

In other business

James City County administrators and supervisors are also set to discuss a matter Tuesday involving classification of part-time employees and their benefits.

In early August, a part-time Parks and Recreation employee voiced concern about his classification as a temporary part-time employee.

The employee said he could work the name number of hours with the same responsibilities as permanent part-time employees, but they would receive benefits and he would not.

Stevens acknowledged in August the employee classifications could use some work. Some of the county’s temporary employees have been working for the county for several years without a specific job-end date, appearing much less “temporary.”

Agenda documents for Tuesday’s meeting include a presentation from Human Resources. It indicated a legal review began on the use of temporary employees after a temporary employee questioned the setup.

“Based on this review, we feel that some employees should likely be classified as part-time versus temporary,” according to the presentation. “HR currently is working with Departments to review the 442 temporary/on-call employees to determine their correct classification.”

Human resources lays out three options for fixing the issue, including changing nothing, which is the least disruptive but does not follow the market; removing benefits, which is the most disruptive and also doesn’t follow the market; or adjust part-time regular benefit threshold to 1,040 hours of work per year, which involves some disruption but follows the market.

The Board of Supervisors will meet in the County Government Center Board Room at 101 Mounts Bay Road.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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