E-911 Board approves retirement program, reviews director's report

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

On Sept. 18, the Barry County E-911 Emergency Services Board approved Lagers, a statewide retirement system for employees of local government employers in Missouri.

Mike Phillips, Barry County E-911 director, recommended approving Lagers for all general employees at a 1.25 percent life allowance rate.

Phillips also recommended the rule of 80 retirement eligibility, which uses years of service and the age of an employee to determine retirement age eligibility, and a contributory plan that requires participating employees to contribute 4 percent of their salaries to the program.

"The majority of municipalities do not require an employee contribution, but since we are a new agency, I would recommend we do have the employees contribute," said Phillips. "That could be changed down the road when we see more income under the one-eighth cent increase."

With the rule of 80 and the 4 percent gross salary contribution, the Lagers retirement plan will cost Barry County E-911 around $24,854 per year. The board budgetted $30,000 for the program this year.

"In light of our recent past, what would be the harm in looking at the L-1 (1 percent life allowance) rate?" asked Richard Asbill, board member. "Nobody knows what the economic rebound is going to be right now."

"The L-3 (1.25 percent life allowance), from a fiscal standpoint, is manageable," said Phillips. "We can go back to the L-1 if we need to. I like the freedom of having that option."

The board approved Lagers with Phillips' recommendation. Information on Barry County E-911 Lagers will be available at the Barry County E-911 Operations Center for public review for a 45-day period.

The board also reviewed Philips' director's report for the third quarter of 2012.

"At the south tower site (Sugar Camp Tower), we had some vandalism on the air conditioning unit," said Phillips. "Someone shot the unit with a gun and this made the unit stop working and made some of the equipment overheat."

The unit was replaced and the equipment is working correctly now.

Phillips hired a maintenance employee who will be working four to six hours each week. The new employee is responsible for janitorial and maintenance work at the operations center.

"I am going to have him start caulking around the building joins and windows before winter," said Phillips. "He has been doing a good job for us."

"I have hired two people for dispatch," said Phillips. "They are moving right along through the training program. We need one more hire to become full staff in dispatch. Testing and interviews are scheduled for the first of October with a potential start state of the middle of October."

Asbill and Harold Schelin have not filed for re-election as northern district representatives on the Barry County Emergency Services Board. Leslie Smith filed for one of the open seats. According to Gary Youngblood, county clerk, the ballot will also feature two write-in candidates.

David Dalton filed for re-election as a southern district representative on the board. Steve Gash, Eagle Rock-Golden-Mano Fire Protection District chief, filed for the other open southern district seat, which was has been held by Mike Redshaw, who is planning to move out of the area.

"We have an updated Cassville city map that is current and agrees with what the city has," said Phillips. "I have started to clean up and update the 911 system with it. Once we become fully staffed in dispatch, we will have more time to work on mapping projects."

Stuart Lombard will begin serving as GIS technician in October. He will also continue to serve as a relief dispatcher, covering vacations and sick time.

"I have received the maps from Jenks that need to be added as a layer for their grant program," said Phillips. "I have told them that we will try to get this completed by the end of the year. It depends on work load and staffing."

One Barry County E-911 dispatcher recently attended training at the Missouri State Highway Patrol office. The training offered information on fire dispatching and how it affects ISO ratings.

Phillips and a dispatching team leader attended a one-day seminar on leadership and management practices in Springfield.

Phillips, Pat Blevins and Ann Hennigan attended the Barry County OACAC Senior Fair on Sept. 14. Phillips and Blevins also attended the LEPC meeting in Monett in July.

"We have now implemented a new policy on paging out fire departments and medical calls," said Phillips. "We will attempt to page out a fire department at least two times. If we receive no answer, then we will contact the next closest department.

"This will ensure that someone is going to the call," said Phillips. "In the event the call is medical. We will attempt two times to dispatch first responders. If no one is responding, we will make note of that and will not attempt anything else since an ambulance is en route. The fire chiefs were on board with this change."

The center's annual battery maintenance was completed in July. The technician reported that the batteries were holding the correct charge and passed inspection.

Blue Valley and Smith 2 Way will complete narrow banding programming for Cassville's new storm sirens on Oct. 2. Area law enforcement agencies are still waiting for the new radios, which will be narrow band compatible. Phillips received a letter that the state project should be completed by mid-December.

Barry County E-911 dispatched 9,851 calls in June, 11,290 calls in July and 10,701 calls in August. The July call volume was the second or third highest in the local E-911 center's history, said Phillips.

The board also reviewed the financial report, which was submitted by Schelin, board treasurer. The business interest account showed a balance of $97,320.76, and the business money market account showed a balance of $343,827.72. The escrow account showed a balance of $327,516.53.

"This is the first time we have had more money in our savings than in the escrow account in two years," said Schelin.

The next Barry County E-911 Emergency Services Board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 18.

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