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Schuylkill County News

Schuylkill Commissioners to Vote on 9-1-1 Dispatcher Raises

Commissioners meet on Wednesday at 10 to vote on the raises.

schuylkill county dispatcher raises

Schuylkill County 9-1-1 employees may be getting a raise.

On Wednesday, Schuylkill County Commissioners will be asked to vote on a side agreement with AFSCME District Council 89, Local 1512, to increase starting salaries for 9-1-1 dispatchers, or telecommunicators, and for existing employees in these positions.

This proposed raise comes at a time when the Commissioners have been facing increasing criticism for a perceived low pay rate for 9-1-1 dispatchers and an admitted shortage of people in this role.

The County admits that it’s 7 dispatchers short of a full staff at 9-1-1. That’s causing existing employees to work long overtime hours. 

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While there is that shortage, the County does have 4 people in trainee positions at 9-1-1.

One of the reasons the County is short so many dispatchers is the current starting pay rate of $15.50 per hour for telecommunicator trainees and $16.50 for people who emerge from the training period.

If the Commissioners approve the agreement with the union, the starting rate for 9-1-1 dispatchers will be $20. 

Further, existing employees currently making less than the proposed new rate, will get a raise to be level with new hires. Current employees will get a 4% pay increase. 

In addition to considering the new side agreement with the employees’ union, the Commissioners are going to be asked to consider new pay rates and raises for individual employees within the department.

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If the deal is approved, 9-1-1 employees’ pay will range from $20 per hour to more than $32 for more senior-level dispatchers.

Commissioners Chair Boots Hetherington says when he visited 9-1-1 dispatchers recently, they were less concerned about the pay rate than they were about the burden of working overtime hours. That kept them from a life outside of work.

Hetherington tells The Canary that this new rate should help the County attract prospective new dispatchers to relieve that burden.

Commissioners meet for the final time in 2023 on Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Schuylkill County Courthouse when this vote is scheduled to happen.

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  1. It's me

    December 27, 2023 at 12:11 pm

    It’s about time. These people are assets to the Community.

  2. Val

    December 27, 2023 at 2:54 pm

    What is the difference between commissioners’ “Regular meeting” and “Work session”? When you look at some week-apart agendas, there is not much difference. Does it mean the previous things were not approved? Or they just like to pretend the issue is soo difficult that they need more time to approve?

    • Canary Commenter

      December 27, 2023 at 4:13 pm

      Great question! There was a time when Work Session meetings were a time when department heads would bring forward proposals and the Commissioners would vote on them the next week. Now, the Work Session has basically become another “Regular” or board meeting with votes on action they’re taking.

      • Val

        December 27, 2023 at 5:01 pm

        Thank you for your explanation.
        It made more sense back in the days. Now it only creates more confusion for the public bc this way they can sit on the same agenda or “approval” for months and pretend they are awfully busy:-0

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