Oak Lawn agrees to deal for outside 911 dispatch services
By Steve Metsch firstname.lastname@example.org December 6, 2013 2:30PM
The village board is expected to vote to privatize Oak Lawn's police and fire dispatchers in a cost-cutting move. | Steve Metsch~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 9, 2014 6:39AM
The village of Oak Lawn and NORCOMM Public Safety Communications have entered into a contract for the latter to provide 911 emergency dispatch services.
The agreement was announced in a news release from Elmhurst-based NORCOMM late Thursday evening that “announces the village of Oak Lawn as its newest client.”
Terms of the deal were not released.
The agreement comes just days after the union representing Oak Lawn emergency dispatchers asked the Illinois Labor Relations Board to seek an injunction aimed at stalling the village’s plan to privatize the service, citing a contract that does not expire until the end of 2014.
The village board on Nov. 26 voted 4-2 to authorize village manager Larry Deetjen to hire NORCOMM to handle the village’s 911 call services.
Ron Cicinelli, the attorney for the Metropolitan Alliance of Police, the union that represents the dispatchers, has said that village officials have indicated they hope to have the transition finished by Jan. 22.
No time line is included in the news release, but NORCOMM vice president Michael Tillman, in a prepared statement, said that the company has a reputation for providing qualified and professionally trained personnel to perform emergency 911 dispatch services at a cost effective rate to municipalities and fire protection services.”
The release said NORCOMM began doing the service for Franklin Park in 1998. Franklin Park Police Chief Michael Witz, in a prepared statement, said he is “extremely satisfied” with the service.
The Oak Lawn Emergency Call Center handles police and fire calls for that village. It also handles police calls for Evergreen Park, Bridgeview and Burbank, and fire calls for Bedford Park and Central Stickney.
Twenty dispatchers now employed by Oak Lawn will be allowed to apply for their current jobs with NORCOMM, albeit at a lower wage. Village manager Larry Deetjen has said he believes most will be retained.
According to the release, NORCOMM hopes “to retain as many of the employees as possible.”
“The management of the Oak Lawn Emergency Communication Center will still be overseen and handled by the village of Oak Lawn employees,” the release said. Director Kathy Hansen and three supervisors will be retained, according to the village.
In the filing with the labor relations board, the union details two years of negotiations with the village, which, shortly after a contract was agreed upon in November 2012, told the union that services would be outsourced if the union did not agree to further cuts.
In December 2012, the union agreed to concessions worth about $369,000 to help alleviate the financial crisis, he said. But the village soon sought more concessions worth about $850,000, a plan that the union membership twice voted down by 28-2 and 29-1 margins.
Union members were not pleased with details in the plan, such as being paid straight time for their 14 holidays each year through 2017; a $2,200 pay cut off their base salary for each of those four years; and waiving the already-negotiated 2.5 percent raise for 2014, with no raises in the following three years, according to the filing with the labor relations board
The filing with the labor relations board also cites the paid administrative leave of dispatcher Lori Gromala, who was escorted from the call center on Nov. 27, the day after the vote.
The action, Cicinelli said, is having “a harsh, chilling effect” on union members whom he said fear losing their jobs.