News : Norcomm, Oak Lawn Call Center Partnership Pays Off
Oak Lawn, IL, Jan 9, 2015 -- The deal for Norcomm to run Oak Lawn’s communications center is about to enter its second year and has so far saved the village money.
The partnership got off to a rocky start with complaints from the then dispatchers about the change to a private company, and there has been continued criticism by some elected officials, notably Trustee Bob Streit (3rd), about problems with the new dispatchers.
Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury said the switch was necessary.
"We had to do something because we were so expensive as a dispatch center," she said. "We had one dispatcher who was paid $213,000 and the average salary was more than $100,000. We were not competitive.
"We had municipalities that were threatening to leave because it was costing them so much to use our dispatch center.
"We made the move to keep the center in Oak Lawn," she said in a recent interview. "It would have been a tragedy if we had to close this center. It represents a huge taxpayer investment.
"We would have preferred to work with the former dispatchers. They said ‘no,’" she said.
Mike Tillman, a vice president with Norcomm Public Safety Communications, said the move has been well received.
"Our dispatchers have proved to be very experienced," he said. "We have had little to no complaints from the general public."
Tillman said Norcomm hired five of the former dispatchers and three are still working in the center, which is still located at Oak Lawn Village Hall.
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"Many of them declined to be interviewed," he said. "Some did not meet our qualifications."
He said dispatchers in Oak Lawn are now better trained than ever.
"All of them went through our training academy," he said. "They then receive certifications that they did not receive previously."
He said the training takes place at the backup communications center at the Oak Lawn Fire Department, which is also used for Advocate Christ Medical Center calls.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Oak Lawn:
Oak Lawn is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 56,690 at the 2010 census.
Published: Monday, January 12, 2015
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