Call Center Opening Faces Delays When County Officials, Union Representatives Disagree
June 26, 2012
By Susan J. Campbell
, TMCnet Contributing Editor
The implementation of a new call center in the U.S. should signify the creation of new jobs, a boon to the local economy, and the reemergence of the onshore call center industry. In Ingham County, however, the opening of a new call center was met with a restraining order, causing the delay of the center’s opening.
According to this Lansing State Journal report, the launch of the new dispatch center had union officials concerned. Dispatchers trained for the opening of the new call center say the training they received was inadequate to serve the needs of the center, as well as the county.
Tom Krug, who represents the dispatchers as the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 141, suggests the opening of the call center as it stands will hurt the county. He fears the lack of training was putting the county and call center employees at risk.
Richard McNulty, an attorney representing the county, argued the county would not approve the opening of the new center if it were to cause risk for any employee or county resident. Likewise, county officials argued that 50 or more dispatchers were already experienced professionals and received sufficient training.
Refresher training was also scheduled for all employees before the official call center opening.
The conflict surrounding the opening of the center led to the issue of a temporary restraining order. Ingham County Circuit Judge Joyce Draganchuk issued the order, delaying the opening of the call center. That order was later dissolved when Draganchuk heard arguments from both sides and determined that no state standards existed to regulate 911 dispatcher training.
Draganchuk also determined that overseeing the training process would be very difficult as a judge. She also noted that in her position, she was not empowered to interfere with an operation within the county unless county officials were to take capricious actions.
The training dispute between county officials and union representatives centers on the type of training call center employees received. While 40 hours were completed, dispatchers reported that much of that time focused on a tour of the fire station, CPR training, and meeting with county personnel employees.
Any delay in the opening of this new call center is limiting the promised cost benefits for the county. Officials suggest it will save hundreds of thousands of dollars each year due to reduce staffing. When first proposed, the project was slated to cost $3.1 million; delays have driven the final cost to $5.6 million.
County officials and union representatives continue to disagree on a number of points in relation to the creation and launch of the new call center. With the resolution of the restraining order, it appears the call center will open in the next few weeks, unless union officials find another method to successfully block the event.
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo