New dispatcher position approved

GRANDVIEW - This past spring, Grandview Police Chief Dave Charvet went before City Council to appeal for a new police dispatcher and the council members believed a fifth full-time employee in that position was a necessity.

The tides turned as other necessities, such as funding a school resource officer, became more important. But, the chief didn't stop with expressing his needs last spring. He spoke once again this past July, addressing the issue at a City Council retreat.

Then, he told the council one of the four dispatchers employed at the Grandview Police Department was on medical leave and the council agreed to establish an eligibility list for the position.

City Administrator Scott Staples highlighted the fact that the list has now been established when he spoke before council Tuesday night.

He said the next step was to have potential candidates undergo a psychological evaluation and training, if the council would approve proceeding with hiring a new dispatcher.

Grandview City Council members approved the process after hearing from Assistant Police Chief Mark Ware.

Ware re-affirmed the need for a new dispatcher, saying it is uncertain when the dispatcher already on staff will return.

"The situation is a little more critical," he said of the need for a new employee.

Ware told the council the city will expend approximately $55,900 in overtime pay during the 2009 budgeted year. That overtime exceeds the cost of employing a new dispatcher.

Another concern, according to figures provided by Ware and Charvet, is the overtime expenses are increased with the current staffing situation. With only three dispatchers available, overtime expenses rise to between $28,000 and $30,000 through the month of December.

Councilwoman Pam Horner, looking at the figures, said, "I think it has been established we will save money and officer hours if we hire a new dispatcher."

She noted overtime pay exceeds the expense of a full-time employee by more than double the salary cost.

Horner asked Ware if the police department has considered hiring a temporary or provisional employee, advising an individual for such a purpose means the position would be eliminated upon the return of the dispatcher who is on medical leave.

Ware said that had been considered, but an individual in such a position is likely to seek a permanent employer, reducing the amount of time they are available to the city of Grandview.

Mayor Norm Childress advised council that the possibility of alternatives other than a full-time employee could be looked at during the budgeting process.

He said the current need is a full-time dispatcher and, weighing the expense and need against the expenses that would be incurred without a new dispatcher, he felt the city should proceed with the hiring process.

Horner concurred. A motion was made in favor of approving the hiring process to commence, and the police department was given approval to proceed with the hiring process for a new full-time dispatcher by a unanimous vote.


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