I have written before about problems I have with how some things are being conducted in the town of Selma's government. I have also written about the idea that Selma is the only town in the county to still do their own police dispatching. The county can do it more efficiently and cheaply than we can. They already do all of our fire and rescue dispatching. It is stupid to keep our own police dispatch when the town could save $50K a year (40% or so of the cost) of running our own dispatch.
In a time when the town needs to save money because of a budget crunch, I find it unwise to NOT go with county dispatch. They are more professional, have better inter-agency cooperation, and all emergency communications are centralized. I have been a dispatcher and have worked for both a police and a fire department. I am one of the few people in this town who have that perspective, certainly amongst most of the town council (I added the "most of" on 6/13/06, since I was informed that one town council member was a dispatcher eons ago, as well). One town council member used to be a police officer in Selma, and I am a bit surprised that Mayor Hester did not have ANY support of the four council members on this topic.
I still have a problem with the mayor being able to make motions in the council, regardless of the interpretation given to the town attorney by the League of Municipalities of the reading of the town charter. It is an extrapolation of powers and is incorrectly interpreted, in my opinion. This instance is one motion, regarless of its origin, that I support wholeheartedly.
The lack of resolve that I have witnessed and read about on the part of some of the council just really torques my shorts, so to speak. If you can't take the hard decisions, then RESIGN from the town council and let someone with some backbone take your place. The reasons for opposition to Mayor Hester in this case, as cited in the newspaper are merely emotional and are out of touch with reality in the 21st Century. I was so peaved when I read the paper, I almost "popped a blood vessel". I realize that I am a bit more involved than most people in my thought pattern and interest, especially since I ran for town council last fall. I will admit that I get pissed seeing what I wish I could be doing, and that is standing for common sense and responsibility in town government in Selma.
Anyway, here is "The Smithfield Herald" article and "The Selma News" article:
SELMA DISPATCHERS SAFE FOR TIME BEING
By Kelly Lake, News Editor 23.MAY.06
Selma Police Department’s dispatchers are safe, at least for another week. A motion to allow the county to take provide dispatcher service for the department, made by Mayor Charles Hester, died without a second at Monday’s budget work session.
Town Manager Stan Farmer gave council members a resolution to accept an offer from Johnston County 911 Communications to provide police dispatch services for the town, then explained the savings the town might see if they pass the resolution.
Farmer explained that the Selma police department uses four full-time dispatchers who are paid $125,000 annually in salaries and benefits.
"The county has offered to do it (dispatch service) for $76,000 a year," said Farmer. "We will need to purchase some equipment and work on the telephone system, but those are one time expenses, not annual."
The change could take place beginning on Jan. 1, 2007, if the council approves the resolution. Farmer said it would be best to approve it soon, so that everyone involved has time to prepare. He added that the county already provides dispatch for the town’s fire and rescue squads.
With its own dispatchers, the Selma Police Department is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Without them, the department would be closed to the public virtually all the time.