County needs emergency dispatchers

Fri, 09/23/2022 - 12:15pm

    Lincoln County Communications has only nine of 16 jobs filled. On Sept. 20, Director Tara Doe reported the addition of one new emergency dispatcher and the departure of another. Doe reported Kristi Krause will begin her six months of training as she has arrived from Texas. Krause, recently moved to Boothbay, has no experience as a dispatcher, but has worked in emergency services. Departing the center is Robert Collins. He previously worked for 35 years in New York as a dispatcher. “He moved here thinking a change of scenery would help him escape burnout,” Doe said. “He was an asset to the department, but he has decided to leave.”

    Doe later met in executive session to discuss creative ways to staff the communications center. The department is staffing eight shifts with six dispatchers along with Doe and the deputy director. Following the executive session, County Administrator Carrie Kipfer reported “Commissioners voted to make a temporary change to the overtime pay rates for emergency communications officers, pending communication with the union representatives. Effective Oct. 1 – Dec. 31, all overtime eligible shifts worked by non-probationary, full-time emergency dispatch communicators will be paid at the force-in rate of pay. Effective Oct. 1,  reserve emergency communications officer pay rate will be increased to $30 per hour.”

    Kipfer later told reporters via email, Curt Bigelow rescinded his resignation. 

    In other action, commissioners approved payments requested by the sheriff’s department and emergency management agency. Sheriff Todd Bracket received authorization to pay $3,063.08 for NetMotion Software. Brackett explained the expenditure is a licensing fee. “The software operates our mobile data units in the cars so officers can communicate with the communications system,” he said. EMA Director Casey Stevens received authorization to pay for the second half of its storage lease. Commissioners approved the $5,750 payment to Just Right Storage in Damariscotta.

    Kipfer received authorization to pay $4,312 to C&S Flooring of Woolwich for repairs to the communications center’s flooring. During the recent console upgrade, the company was hired to cover holes remaining from the previous console system. The center floor is blue, but only black flooring was available. “Our plan was to temporary cover the flooring with black tiles. “There is now a random pattern of blue and black, and it looks great,” she said. Kipfer also updated commissioners on preliminary details of an opioid settlement. Lincoln County is a party in a national settlement and received a $30,365.48 check as a first payment. “I reached out to the law firm for more details, but this is all the information we have now,” Kipfer said. Commissioners placed the payment in a separate account while waiting for details on how the funds may be spent.

    Commissioners meet next at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4 in the courthouse.