Oak Lawn’s new 911 contract for two years
By Steve Metsch firstname.lastname@example.org December 31, 2013 5:10PM
Village trustees have alleged problems in the operation of Oak Lawn's privatized 911 emergency dispatch center. | File photo
Updated: February 3, 2014 3:52PM
Oak Lawn has a two-year contract with Norcomm Public Safety Communications to provide 911 staffing at the village’s emergency call center, according to a copy of the agreement the SouthtownStar obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
The agreement can be extended three more years if both parties agree.
The agreement resulted in 20 dispatchers out of work and has them reapplying to Norcomm for their old jobs. A number of those dispatchers have applied for the jobs, the attorney representing them said.
Under the agreement, the village and Norcomm can cancel the contract at any time by providing a 30-day notice to the other party.
Norcomm is to provide 23 full-time dispatchers to work the emergency call center, which will be staffed around the clock every day of the year.
Dispatchers must be certified and licensed and have received documented basic training. In the event of a large emergency such as “active shooting, large fire, explosion, plane crash, severe weather, etc.,” Norcomm can hire part-time employees or bring in Norcomm employees from other dispatch centers to help in Oak Lawn.
The village is required to own, maintain and repair all computer and electronic systems at the emergency call center. Norcomm will have no financial responsibility or labor expenses for providing or repairing equipment.
Under the agreement, Oak Lawn will pay Norcomm $1.99 million for the first year of service. That increases to $2 million, $2.1 million, $2.2 million and $2.3 million from years two through five of the agreement. If there are any insurance-related cost increases related to the contract over the five years, the village is responsible.
The agreement was signed by village manager Larry Deetjen and by Norcomm vice president Michael Tillman on Dec. 9, one day before the village board officially approved the plan.
Ron Cicinelli, the attorney representing the dispatchers, questioned the timing of the signing of the agreement.
Several dispatchers said the agreement was a done deal before the board approved it on Dec. 10. Mayor Sandra Bury has said the deal was not in place until it was approve by the village board.
Deetjen was out of the office and not available for comment.
Cicinelli has filed a second unfair labor practice complaint with the state because Norcomm “on or before Dec. 10” placed notices in the call center mailboxes of each dispatcher telling them they had until Dec. 15 to apply for their old jobs and saying they “will be considered” if they do apply.
Cicinelli also expressed concerns about the village’s liability of having a private contractor run a call center based inside the village hall.
“I thought that the village privatizing this makes it a separate entity. What happens if there’s a lawsuit filed against Norcomm? Is the village a co-defendant?” Cicinelli said.
The agreement states that Norcomm shall maintain insurance policies and names the village as an additional insured party. Norcomm also agrees to “indemnify, defend and hold harmless” Oak Lawn, Burbank, Evergreen Park, Bridgeview, Bedford Park and Central Stickney, communities or fire protection districts that use the call center, from legal action.
It also states that Norcomm operates as an independent contractor.