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5 more dispatchers leave York County 911; staff at an all time low

SPRINGETTSBURY TOWNSHIP, YORK COUNTY, Pa. --  The York County 911 call center holds about 86 positions and as of  Thursday, only 30 of those are currently filled raising concerns for public safety.

“They’re making sure that there aren’t any empty seats," said Mark Walters, Communications Director for York County. “We have administrators and supervisors and administrators sitting down in chairs taking calls," he added.

York County’s 911 dispatcher shortages continue with 5 more employees putting in their two weeks notice in the last week.

 Brenda Webb, who represents workers at the call center, says the shortage  is continuing to cause major overtime  issues with employees.  She tells FOX43 that the spike in recent resignations is also due to the low pay at $12.50 per hour.

"They`re transposing numbers, they`re making mistakes, they`re being disciplined, how can they not make mistakes? They`re exhausted," said Brenda Webb, York County union representative for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

 Which begs the question: Is there a threat to public safety?

“Not a serious one, no…this has always been a public safety issue," said Walters. “To say that people are in there you know, falling asleep, and completely derelict in their responsibilities is just not true," he added.

Walters admits, employees are tired of working long hours and he understands people are upset.

“But to bang the drum and and refer to this as a serious threat is extremist," said Walters.

According to a statement from AFSCME, numbers are now down to 30 employees — stating in part quote — “This is a very long process and not the immediate fix that is needed to keep the public safe!

Some local ambulance companies also expressed concern but were not available for on camera interviews.

However, Walters says there is no need to worry and that there are no calls being missed.

“When you rattle cages to the point where 5 people quit in a week are you really helping the situation,?" said Walters.

The York County 911 call center has taken in more than 50 applications in the month of March. They are hoping to hire all eligible candidates.

AFSCME DC 89 and York County are continuing negotiations and will meet again at the end of March.