Borough 911 dispatch reorganization on hold

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly last week stalled plans to combine 911 dispatch services by moving current state employees to the borough payroll.

Citing a change in leadership earlier this month at the Alaska Department of Public Safety, Kenai Peninsula Mayor Mike Navarre asked the assembly to table plans to support an ordinance that authorized combining dispatchers working in the Soldotna Public Safety Communications Center in an effort to save an estimated $100,000 annually caused by conflicting employee contracts.

Also changed was the state employees’ contract. It’s now more equal to borough employees’ contracts, Navarre said. Previous plans called for all the state employees to make the transition; now some might stay with the state, he said.

Before the changes on the state side, borough and state 911 employees that work together in the call center were on separate contracts with separate pay scales and different definitions of a work week. All combined to create what the borough human resources department called a “difficult management scenario” that led the borough into $100,000 in overtime during the 2013 fiscal year, which ended in June.

The plan, which was presented in early September with a public hearing in October, was negotiated by Navarre and called for eight state employees to become borough employees with the state paying much of the expense for two years.

The leadership change at DPS is, for the moment, temporary with 16-year veteran Keith Mallard appointed by Gov. Sean Parnell on Oct. 14 as acting commissioner.

On Oct. 22, Navarre said his recommendation to table the ordinance supporting the plan was temporary, but did not say when it might be finalized.

 

Reach Greg Skinner at greg.skinner@peninsulaclarion.com.

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