Commissioners approve dispatch’s request for part-time employees

Published 6:23 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Reinforcements could soon be on the way for area dispatch employees.

The Mower County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved dispatch’s request to hire up to two part-time employees to help the department temporarily fill a void left by medical leave.

Four of the 14 dispatchers are on leave, and a fifth employee could potentially go on medical leave soon. The remaining dispatchers have had to work overtime to fill the void.

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Along with the budget strains caused by a high number of overtime hours, the extra workload is also taking a toll on the employees.

“The rational behind this is that the overtime hours of course are hard on the budget because it’s time and a half,” said Commissioned David Hillier. “And secondly, with that many — four or five people — out of the schedule the overtime is becoming very much a fatigue factor for the current employees.”

In the last two pay periods, Hillier said the part-time employees worked 202 hours. In that same time, dispatchers logged 165 hours of overtime at time and a half, Hillier said.

Hillier said it would save money to keep those additional hours as straight time instead of overtime.

County Coordinator Craig Oscarson said the overtime budget has not yet been used up. The county previously estimated there was enough money in the overtime budget to pay the two part-time employees approved in October. Oscarson did not know if that was the case withe two additional employees.

The commissioners previously approved two part-time employees in October, and this would approve two additional part-timers. The part-time employees will work as long as the regular employees are on medical leave. The part-time employees won’t earn benefits.

The Austin City Council still needs to approve the additional part-time employees because the county and city split the dispatch costs.