Board isn’t ready to approve new GPD positions

Trustees table proposal to hire support staff, pay them the same as dispatchers as village transfers duties to county
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Grafton Village Board on Monday tabled a request to create a new police department clerical position and pay the people who fill that position the same as dispatchers as it continues to grapple with the move to a consolidated emergency dispatch system.

Six dispatcher positions will be phased out when the village transfers its dispatching services to Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office by the end of the year. 

While the Police Department will no longer have dispatchers, it will need employees to perform clerical tasks that were handled by dispatchers. 

Some of the duties for the police support specialist position include clerical work, transcribing and verifying reports, customer service and monitoring the TIME system, which reports urgent messages to the police department.

During the Village Board meeting, trustees debated whether the pay grade is appropriate for the duties. 

“It’s going to be hard to justify to the taxpayers that the personnel is getting paid the same salary but they will have less job duties and responsibility,” Trustee Lisa Uribe-Harbeck said.

According to Village Administrator Jesse Thyes, the police support specialist position was placed in a salary range of $36,391 to $49,217 per year. He also said more duties can be added to the position. 

“We don’t want to penalize existing employees for being reassigned,” he said during the meeting, adding the salaries were determined by using comparisons with other communities that have similar support positions. 

Village President Jim Brunnquell said he is concerned that the savings the village would realize from having county employees handle emergency dispatching duties for the village would be reduced or eliminated if the village pays people in the new support staff positions the same as dispatchers. 

“For me, that is a significant piece of information to know before we can make our decision,” Brunnquell said. He also said he wants the police support position applications open to the public to broaden the candidate pool.

Ultimately, the Village Board agreed to refer the matter back to the Finance Committee to consider more options. 

Ozaukee County’s dispatch center began handling the village’s 911 calls at the end of April because the village lost its medical director with Aurora Health Care for its Emergency Medical Dispatch program. 

Ozaukee County Sheriff Jim Johnson said he would be willing to hire Grafton’s dispatchers to help the county take on the additional calls. As of Monday, none of the village’s dispatchers had applied for jobs at the county’s dispatch center, Thyes said.

Thyes said the number of police support specialists the department needs has not been determined.  

On Thursday, June 21, the Public Safety Committee will discuss staffing the police station’s lobby, which is currently open around the clock. Thyes said depending on the staffing model, the lobby could be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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