The Daily Herald published the following:


Northwest Central dispatchers declare “no confidence” in management

The union representing dispatchers for the Northwest Central Dispatch System presented a vote of “no confidence” in the agency’s management at a board of directors meeting Thursday morning in Arlington Heights. The vote taken in the past week stems from members’ frustrations with a new computer-aided dispatch system installed April 24. The system, used for routing emergency calls to fire and police departments, has been plagued with problems affecting response times.

There also have been difficulties with radio equipment, and administrative policies leading to stressful working conditions, said Rick Tracy, an executive board member of the Metropolitan Alliance of Police, the dispatchers’ union.

Of the roughly 70 members represented by the union … Roughly 85 percent  … voted that they have no confidence in management.

“It’s not just over the CAD system,” Tracy said. “It’s policy changes started years ago that led this group to unionize in February 2009.”

Software glitches caused a 14-minute delay in the response to a potential heart attack victim in Palatine earlier this month. Northwest Central Dispatch Executive Director Cindy Barbera-Brelle at the time said that was the first time the agency had delays in responses to emergency calls since the new software went live.

However, union President Jennifer Delacerda said it was not an isolated incident and there have been ongoing problems with the system since April 24 and as recently as Wednesday night. Problems with management have been ongoing for years, she added. Several dispatchers said even the toughest among them are being pushed to the brink.

“When we mess up, we feel like our necks are on the line,” said Dawn Wolf. “At some point, it’s going to come back on us. We’re going to be the scapegoat.”

Dispatcher Tim Stencel said he recently had problems with the radio system resulting in Hoffman Estates and Streamwood police officers not being able to communicate with him or with each other.

The board of directors and management issued an open letter to its members about the problems earlier this week. In it, they state that the software issues are being taken seriously and management is working as diligently as possible to address them.

“We unionized under this management. We took a strike vote under this management, and now we have taken a vote of no confidence,” she said.

Northwest Central provides emergency dispatch services for about 500,000 residents in Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Inverness, Mount Prospect, Palatine, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg and Streamwood. … The towns of Des Plaines, Morton Grove, Niles and Park Ridge [considering joining Northwest Central] have agreed to participate in a feasibility study that will cost $15,000 per community.

The entire article can be found HERE;

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