Commissioners approve Public Safety Communications (911) pay stipend, commit to other improvement strategies

Press release from Buncombe County:

In an effort to address critical staffing shortages within the Buncombe County 911 Call Center, the Board of Commissioners approved a pay stipend during its meeting on March 21. As the County grapples with high call volumes, an understaffed call center reliant on outside agencies to maintain operations, and long call and response times, we are working on a variety of initiatives aimed at reducing the volume of nonemergency calls, bolstering dispatcher recruitment and retainment, and other measures to help alleviate the volume of work.

“We really need to look at the base pay… we want to attract people long term beyond getting through the near-term needs,” said Commission Chair Brownie Newman. “This has always been an important job and it’s never been easy. I think it’s tougher today than it’s ever been, and we need to value that. Thank you for all your work.”

The stipend pay will be for all telecommunicators who have been with the County for at least six months. The stipend will be for each regular shift and the breakdown is as follows:

Additionally, the County is working on the following short- and long-term strategies to help Public Safety Communications (911):

  • Developing a campaign to reduce nonemergency calls going to 911
  • Decreasing the number of alarm dispatch automated calls to 911
  • Contracting additional support for training, recruitment, and quality assurance
  • Providing operational and management support from other County agencies
  • Improving Call Center amenities and technology
  • Refining Call Center processes and policies

Staffing at the 911 Call Center has long been a priority for the Board of Commissioners as they have approved various initiatives such as double-time pay, shift-differential pay, provided up-to-date equipment, and purchased new vehicles for EMS. You can read more about the proposed stipend pay here.


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