NT police union offers concessions for dispatch services

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — After receiving a chilled response over its request to bring emergency dispatch services back to North Tonawanda, the union representing police is trying to sweeten the deal.

The union representing police officers and other staff in North Tonawanda said this week they’re willing to offer concessions, in order to work out a deal between the city and the department.
The hope is a deal will be reached to bring back to the city a dispatch unit, which moved to Niagara County Sheriff’s Office in 2012 as a cost cutting measure.
The state approved, and helped pay for, merging North Tonawanda dispatchers with the sheriff’s office.
North Tonawanda’s city leaders and Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour have lauded the program’s success, and the money it’s saved.
But the North Tonawanda Police Benevolent Association said the department has experienced slower response times, crowded emergency airwaves and and overall complicated system. That’s been disputed by Voutour and others.
A letter sent by the union requesting the return dispatch services failed to get much traction among decision makers. So, just this week, they offered concessions to try and hammer out a deal.
“Everything is in place for this to happen,” said union spokesman Erik Herbert. “There’s a current dispatcher civil service exam in the county that NT can hire off of, the union is willing to make concessions and work with this today. We would sign stuff today bringing this back. We’re as prepared and ready to do this as anybody.”
Herbert said he didn’t want to reveal too much when it came to specifics. But he said all told, the savings they’re offering in concessions top out at $140,000.
He said that would pay for half of the annual cost of running a dispatch center.
North Tonawanda Mayor Arthur Papas said the city has received a proposal from the union, but there has been no official request to negotiate a deal. Papas said City Council is expected to discuss the proposal in the coming weeks.

 

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