Florence County leaders approve salary increases for 911 dispatchers

Florence County 911 dispatch
Florence County 911 dispatch(Source: WMBF News)
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 10:13 PM EDT
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FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – Florence County 911 dispatchers will soon be getting more money in their paychecks.

The Florence County Council unanimously approved a $6,000 salary increase for 911 dispatchers at the county’s Emergency Operations Center.

County Administrator K.G. “Rusty” Smith said during a presentation that the emergency management department has 16 vacant slots and it’s expecting to lose more people to other agencies, such as the Florence Police Department and Highway Patrol dispatch.

Smith added that the department has been averaging about 10 vacancies a year since 2020 and are working just above 50% staffing.

Administrative staff have also had to jump in a provide coverage due to the shortage and has led to hundreds of hours of overtime, according to Smith.

“Without question, dispatch is the foundation of our public safety efforts and they are the frontline on all emergency operations. They are requesting these salary increases to alleviate the hazard of operating at only 51% to successfully compete with others,” Smith said.

The salary increases are budget neutral because emergency management will be eliminating six positions. Those six eliminated positions frees up $309,000 and the salary increases cost $308,000.

“Every opportunity that we have like this that we can do something that will benefit each and every one of our county operations, we are willing to do it,” said Florence County Council Chairman Willard Dorriety Jr.

The Florence County Emergency Management hopes this salary increase will help them compete with surrounding agencies.