• 72°

E-911 board faces task of replacing director

The contract of the county E-911 director Eleanor Park was cancelled Tuesday during the monthly meeting of the E-911 board meeting.

Board chairman Kevin McKinney, and board members Jesse Langley, Bill Mason and Barry Hunt voted for the cancellation. Chester Moore voted against, and Bryant Carter and Grady Kelly abstained.

The director was given a 30-day notice, McKinney said. Park could not comment on the cancellation by press time.

No interim director has been chosen. There will be someone appointed to update the addressing and mapping database, McKinney said.

There have been employee problems at the E-911 center for over a year, he said. Five employees had requested to address the board at a recent meeting.

People’s lives depend on that job performance, he said. "We felt like we were in a very serious situation."

No board members disliked Park or held anything against her. McKinney said Park never defended her lack of discipline to the employees. "She admitted to me that she was not able to discipline."

The board had communicated to Park that she had the power to discipline, and the board has terminated one employee in the past and backed Park in an appeal.

Other employees may have to be terminated to solve the current problem. "We’re fixing to get some employees back in line," McKinney said, "and if they don’t get in line, they’re going to be gone."

The director’s position currently pays $29,500 annually. McKinney said the salary for a new director would depend on the applicant’s qualifications.

Despite the employee problems, the E-911 agency is where the board wants it to be.

McKinney said the public should feel safe with the operation of the E-911 agency and felt it would improve.

He wants the dispatchers to follow through and give more detailed information to first responders than just an incident and address.

The board used to ask for $146,000 combined annually from cities and the county, but only $30,000 for asked for in the 2002 budget and $36,000 for 2003. "That’s the improvements that we have made." Waste in the E-911 budget for technology and reserve accounts have been eliminated. Park disagreed with the reduction in the money asked for from cities and the county, McKinney said.

The agency is planning to purchase a computer aided dispatcher software program to improve the system. The purchase of that system will be slowed due to the search for a new director, he said.