County Council votes ‘no’ on a plan to hire additional dispatchers

The Bartholomew County Council has said “no” to a plan to add dispatchers to the Bartholomew County Emergency 911 Center. At least, for now.

Emergency 911 Center Director Todd Noblitt proposed the hiring of six new dispatchers. He noted that he currently has 24 dispatchers, a number that has been largely unchanged since 2002. Noblitt noted that during this same period, emergency calls went up approximately 58 percent.

Noblitt’s proposal included two hires this July, two in January of 2020 and the final pair in July of 2020. Under an interlocal agreement between the city and the county, Columbus would pay for 55 percent of these costs, while the county will cover the remaining 45 percent.

County Council rejected the proposal on a vote of 3-4. Mark Gorbett, Laura DeDomenic and Jorge Morales voted to approve the request. Scott Bonnell, Evelyn Pence, Bill Lentz and Matt Miller voted “no.” All four who voted against say they don’t disagree that the the help is needed, but they prefer to wait to consider new positions until the budget for 2020 is put together. Pence noted that a number of department heads have requested new employees, 13 thus far, and said that waiting would be the fair thing to do.

Council is set to begin budget work at the end of summer.