Dispatchers worried about how consolidation will impact jobs

SOUTH BEND, IND. -- Some dispatchers are worried about how St. Joseph County's plan to consolidate its 911 centers will impact their jobs.

Because of a state mandate, the county must move its four, separate dispatch centers under one roof. If they don't do so by the end of the year, they will lose funding.

On Tuesday night, the county council moved the project forward by approving the creation of a new 'executive director' position.

"Obviously this is going to be something new as far as total consolidation, so this person would have to possess a skill level as far as managing all the different entities," said County Council President Rafael Morton.

The executive director's salary is set at $90,000.

But, some dispatchers say they're worried about who will be selected and whether their jobs are in jeopardy. As part of the transition, they'll have to reapply for their jobs.

The women didn't want to go on camera, but tell NewsCenter 16 many dispatchers didn't know that until they saw it on the news Monday.

"Change is scary," said Commissioner Marsha McClure. "And, that's what we're facing right now is just so much of the unknown and that is a fearful thing."

While McClure isn't sure how many dispatchers will be working at the new center, she says there is no intention to slash jobs.

"I know that there are going to be different opportunities and different positions," she said.

The St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners decided on Monday to locate the new dispatch center in Mishawaka, off Capital Avenue north of the bypass and south of 12th Street.

The land is owned by the State of Indiana and local officials are hoping to obtain the ten acres at no cost to local taxpayers.

Construction of a new $10 to $12 million dispatch center on the site is expected to start in July or August.

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