In May 19 IssueBy Kim GrahamTimes Journal Reporter
At a special called meeting last Friday, the Russell County LINK Board discussed a personnel issue brought to their attention regarding possible unauthorized overtime and double coverage at Russell County 911 Dispatch.
"There have been issues brought up about double coverage and overtime (at 911 dispatch)," said RC LINK Board member Russell Springs Police Chief Joe Irvin. "There has been a tremendous increase."
Irvin said he is reviewing 911 dispatch payroll records and since January, there is a notable escalation in double coverage recorded including 130 hours in the last two weeks.
Some of the double coverage may be attributed to training newly hired personnel in training he said.
"Naturally, there is going to be an increase (in double coverage) because of training," said Chief Irvin. "Twenty-four hours a day, there must be a certified dispatcher on the terminal."
Dispatch trainees receive temporary access to Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) units during a six month training period and must be supervised by a certified dispatcher while on duty Irvin said.
Currently, there are four full-time certified dispatchers, two trainees, and several part-time certified dispatchers employed by 911 Dispatch according to officials.
Part-time dispatchers are scheduled to help curb overtime.
"That's why we have part-time people so we can avoid overtime as much as possible," said Russell County LINK Board Chairman Tony Wright.
He said the LINK board had given explicit instructions regarding overtime and that part-time certified dispatchers should cover shifts to avoid incurring overtime payments.
"The last directive we gave was that there would be absolutely no overtime," said Wright.
Russell County 911 Dispatch Interim Director LeeAnn Roy is solely responsible for scheduling dispatch coverage but was not present to answer questions at the special meeting due to a miscommunication.
Wright said since October 2011, the board does not see time cards that now go directly to the county judge executive's office since the interlocal agreement went into effect.
"We should approve time sheets because if we'd have seen this, we would never have let this happen," Russell Springs Police Chief Joe Irvin said.
He said prior to October of 2010, the LINK board approved payroll and wrote payroll checks.
The board discussed concerns regarding dispatch coverage and overtime stemming from an urgent need to control payroll expenses and competently manage money budgeted to 911 dispatch operation.
"We want to run the dispatch center as efficiently as we possibly can," said Chairman Wright. "It's imperative to handle finances as efficiently as possible to keep 911 Dispatch local."
From October 2010 through May 2011, $145,000 of the roughly $212,000 budgeted in the interlocal agreement has been spent running 911 Dispatch according to Russell County Judge Executive Gary Robertson.
Robertson said 911 Dispatch is spending about $3,200 more each month than is budgeted and the fiscal court may have to supplement funds to complete the year through October 15, 2011.
He said they are expecting about $20,000 this month from the Commercial Mobile Radio Service Emergency Telecommunications Board (CMRS Board) which administers CMRS funds to implement wireless emergency enhanced 911 service in Kentucky.
About half dispatch's annual budget comes from CMRS funds Robertson said.
Still, he anticipates additional fund transfers from the county to keep dispatch operating.
"There's a possibility (the fiscal court) will have to transfer more funds to get (911 Dispatch) through until October," said Judge Robertson.
Robertson said he is checking options for operating 911 Dispatch after the current interlocal agreement expires in October and hoping to keep local.
"We need to keep (911 Dispatch) here in Russell County," said Robertson. "We've got from now until October 15th and we're going to have to get by the best we can."
He said however, he has spoken to the City of Campbellsville, Adair County, and Garrard County regarding the possibility of joining forces in a regional dispatch service and is awaiting proposals from each entity for review.
Meanwhile, the LINK Board is addressing the issue of double coverage and overtime possibly causing unnecessary payroll expenses.
"We feel we have to look at this and run the dispatch center as efficiently as we can," said Chief Irvin. "We're going to have to meet with the dispatch supervisor and we hope to get clarification from her."
The LINK board directed County Attorney Kevin Shearer and Chief Irvin to meet with interim director LeeAnn Roy to get an explanation of the increase in overtime and double coverage.
"I think we need to meet with the interim director and get to the bottom of this," said Shearer.