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updated: 1/19/2013 11:48 AM

Island Lake to lay off dispatchers, outsource service to Lake Zurich

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  • The Island Lake Police Department's dispatchers will be laid off and the service outsourced to Lake Zurich, officials have decided.

      The Island Lake Police Department's dispatchers will be laid off and the service outsourced to Lake Zurich, officials have decided.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II/Daily Herald File Photo

  • Debbie Herrmann

      Debbie Herrmann

 
 

The Island Lake Police Department's dispatch unit will be disbanded and the service outsourced to neighboring Lake Zurich, village officials have ruled.

The decision, made during a special board meeting Thursday night, is expected to save Island Lake at least $144,000 annually, according to village documents. Island Lake's six full-time dispatchers will be laid off.

One employee could be retained as a police records clerk, or a new person could be hired for that post, according to a lengthy statement read by Mayor Debbie Herrmann after the board's vote.

Additionally, when officials negotiate a deal with Lake Zurich, they may try to get one or two of the dispatchers hired by that town, Herrmann told the Daily Herald on Friday.

"We're going to do what we can to help those people obtain positions elsewhere," she said.

The board voted 5-1 to outsource dispatching to Lake Zurich following a discussion that lasted more than one hour.

Trustee Laurie Rabattini was the lone dissenter because she said there were too many unanswered questions at this point.

"I voted no for several reasons, not that I didn't think savings and outsourcing weren't a good idea," Rabattini said in an email Friday. "I thought the contract was empty of protections for Island Lake, lacked any performance standards linked to costs which I feel is a must."

Many suburban police departments team up to provide the service or use larger, independent dispatch units.

Island Lake officials have been considering such a move for months but didn't acknowledge the possibility on the record until this week. Thursday night's debate was the first public discussion on the matter.

Rumors about outsourcing had been spreading through the community for a while, however.

The dispatchers cost the village about $330,815 annually, officials said in a newly released report.

The agreement with Lake Zurich is expected to be a five-year deal that would cost Island Lake about $111,719 annually. Additionally, Island Lake would need to purchase a $10,000 radio receiver, according to a memo.

Trustees in both towns would need to approve the deal for it to take effect. If that happens, a transition period is expected to last a month or two, Herrmann said.

Island Lake's dispatchers have been represented by a labor union since 2003, but have been without a contract since 2010.

Village officials will negotiate severance pay and the details of transitional operation with the union, Herrmann said.

Thursday's vote came as an already-heated campaign for the mayor's office, three trustee posts and the clerk's job is getting under way. In recent weeks, Herrmann's critics and political rivals have called for the dispatchers' jobs to be saved.

But Trustee Shannon Fox, who isn't up for election this year and who voted to outsource, said the proposed deal with Lake Zurich is a matter of fiscal responsibility.

"This is not about six jobs, this is about saving money and providing good service to (more than) 8,000 residents," Fox said in an email to the Daily Herald. "The timing of these decisions should not be done based on where we are in the election cycle."

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