Mineral County 911 moves to ease staffing shortage

Liz Beavers
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Mineral County 911 Center

KEYSER - Add Mineral County’s 911 Center to the list of agencies currently trying to work around staffing shortages.

At the request of Office of Emergency Services director Luke McKenzie, however, the county commissioners approved a plan Tuesday to help ease the pinch experienced at the center when someone calls off work.

“When people are calling off, we’re really struggling to get coverage,” McKenzie told the commissioners, suggesting that they approve a plan where one off-duty employee can be placed on call every day. That employee would be paid $25 per day for two days with the understanding that he or she be available in case needed.

Currently, employees are called out to work if coverage is needed but may be unavailable if they are out of town or otherwise busy on their day off.

“This would guarantee our coverage when people call off,” he said of the new plan.

McKenzie noted that the change is scheduling is receiving support from the 911 staff, as it also ensures when an employee is off, “they can truly be off. They won’t have to worry about being called in unless they are on call.”

Commission president Richard Lechliter agreed, saying the employee placed on call under the new program would know they need to be available, but would still be free to enjoy their day off under certain limitations.

“They know they can go to Walmart, but they just can’t go out of town,” he said.

Lechliter also noted that the money for the $25-per-day pay for on-call employees is available in the 911 budget.

Commissioner Roger Leatherman made a motion to approve the on-call plan, and Jerry Whisner seconded it.

The plan becomes effective immediately.

Mineral County Emergency Management is also currently advertising for an emergency telecommunicator position, and has scheduled a hiring event for Wednesday, Oct. 27. The salary is listed at $28,300 with a guaranteed six hours of overtime every pay period for an additional $2,940 per year.

Telecommunicators work a four days on/four days off schedule.

Those wishing to apply can email emcoordinator@mineralwv.org to set up an interview.

Further information is available on the Mineral County Emergency Management and 911 Facebook page.

Liz Beavers is a veteran writer and managing editor of the Mineral Daily News Tribune. To reach out to her with a story idea, email lbeavers@newstribune.info.