Wauconda considering future of emergency dispatchers

Posted1/27/2014 5:42 PM
  • Doug Maxeiner

    Doug Maxeiner

With the union contract for their emergency dispatchers long expired, Wauconda officials are investigating outsourcing the service, Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner confirmed.

But Maxeiner didn't rule out inking a new contract with the union when he spoke to the Daily Herald about the matter.

"We're in discussions with the union on this," he said.

The issue has been a hot topic on social media in recent days, with a Facebook page called "Save the Wauconda Dispatchers" forming over the weekend.

If it happens, Wauconda would be the latest Lake County town to disband a dispatch unit. Libertyville, Lincolnshire and Island Lake are among the suburbs that have opted to farm out dispatching services in recent years.

Historically, closing a dispatch center has been seen as a cost-saving move.

Wauconda's dispatch center is at the town's police station. It handles calls for police and the local fire department, as well as the Tower Lakes and Lakemoor police departments.

Wauconda employs 10 full-time dispatchers, and it has one or two part-timers who work occasionally, Maxeiner said.

The contract with the dispatchers' labor union expired in April 2013, Maxeiner said. Employees continue to work under the terms of that deal, he said.

Officials have been studying the possibilities for the future of emergency dispatch services for about a year, Maxeiner said.

The union has presented proposals for a contract renewal, but an agreement hasn't been reached.

"We would like to finish our analysis of the feasibility of our dispatch center ... and discuss those results with the union before moving forward with any proposals," he said.

Maxeiner said he hopes the study is done by the end of February.

The village board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday for a committee-of-the-whole session at village hall. The dispatcher issue is not on the agenda, but some residents and activists are urging people to attend the meeting because of the situation.

As for the concerns being raised by residents and other people on social media, Maxeiner said he'd prefer to wait until after the village finishes its analysis to comment.

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