Fraternal Order of Police blasts York County board over 911 center
Law enforcement members across York County slammed the county board of commissioners Wednesday for considering privatizing the county's 911 center on the heels of a damning audit report.
In a letter to the York County Commissioners, the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 73, stated that the county should take responsibility for fixing the management problems at the 911 center.
"You have allowed the center to languish, and are now considering outsourcing the work of fixing it," the letter states. "It is highly unlikely that a corporation, beholden to making a profit, will be able to effect a positive change."
About 450 active and retired police officers across York County comprise the lodge, with the exception of York City police officers, who are part of White Rose Lodge No. 15.
The 911 center has struggled for years with staff retention, over-reliance on overtime hours and other management woes, problems that some current and former dispatchers say have worsened under director Jacqueline Brininger.
York County paid more than $116,000 to IXP Corp., a New Jersey-based consulting firm with a history of privatizing 911 call centers, to conduct an audit of the center.
The audit report, released to the county in June, stated that a poor organizational structure, lack of confidence in leadership and inadequate training processes have contributed to the center's problems.
In its report, IXP recommended that the 911 center be "operationally rebuilt" and stated that current leadership and management are not up to the task.
Then at a public meeting Wednesday, July 24, IXP offered to take over all nonunion positions at the 911 center, and the board of commissioners approved a request for qualifications, seeking applications from any interested companies.
It was clear that "the fix was in" as soon as the county hired IXP Corp. to conduct an audit, stated the union letter.
"A very short review of information available on the internet shows many examples that IXP Corporation is poorly regarded by employees and first responders alike," the letter reads. "It is troublesome that you would consider making a decision of this importance in the matter of a few months without fully researching the long term implications."
IXP has acquired six 911 centers in Michigan, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Georgia in the past four years and has made several bids that have failed or are still pending.
The letter asks the board of commissioners to table the issue until January and allow the new board of commissioners to make a decision after taking office.
All three commissioner seats are open in November, and Commissioner Doug Hoke is the only incumbent seeking reelection.
Matthew Emig, president of Lodge No. 73, made some good points in the statement that need to be considered, Hoke said.
"There seemed to be a common thread that everybody realized we had some issues that we need to address," Hoke said. "It’s just, how do we address them, what’s the best path to take, and that’s what’s under consideration."
Chad Deardorff, York City's fire chief and president of the Fire Chiefs’ & Fire Fighters’ Association of York County, said his organization is collecting input from members and will release a statement in the next couple of weeks.
Commissioner Chris Reilly could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon, and Commissioner Susan Byrnes was not available.