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Tim Lee

Raise approved for joint 911 call center employees

– Employees of the joint Fort Wayne-Allen County 911 call center will get a little more money next year, after members of the Consolidated Communications Partnership board – which oversees the center – agreed Tuesday to a 2 percent raise.

The raise does not need approval from the Fort Wayne City Council or the Allen County Council because the CCP has funds to cover the salary increases, said Tim Lee, executive director of the 911 call center.

The CCP will use rollover funds – money left over after meeting expenses the previous year, Lee said.

“We have the money to account for the raises because we included those figures in the budget,” Lee said. “We are in very good financial standing and within budget.”

The CCP has an annual budget in excess of $6 million, and it staffs between 70 and 80 dispatchers in the 911 call center.

In other business, board members unanimously agreed that two employee grievances recently filed had no merit and did not qualify for further review.

CCP board members voted last month on new rules that establish seniority, and the grievances were filed as a result of that decision.

The issue began this summer when debate erupted on whether all time worked in city or county departments counted toward seniority, or just the time spent working in the joint 911 call center, which was created when the city and county call centers merged two years ago.

A previous grievance filed in August was reconciled. But board members determined that there was no violation of the employee handbook and no violation of civil rights, meaning the employees had no justification for filing a grievance.

“It’s an established policy, and we went over and over it and did everything we could” to resolve it, said Therese Brown, Allen County commissioner and board president.

“We knew some people would be upset no matter which way we went,” she said.

Board member and Fort Wayne Fire Chief Amy Biggs agreed.

“We looked at this issue very comprehensively,” Biggs said. “I’m in support of treating it as policy and moving on.”

The new rules stipulate that employees will get credit for all time they had worked with the county or city police departments and dispatching at the time of the merger but not time with other city or county departments.

Employees hired after Jan. 10, 2011, will receive no credit for any prior time with the city or county.

The employees have already made their requests for which shifts they would like to work next year, and that selection is based on seniority, said John Feighner, attorney for the board.

“They all got the shifts they requested,” so there is no issue with scheduling, Feighner said.

vsade@jg.net

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