Category Archives: Call.Centers

Police Dispatchers Argue Against Privitizing Their Jobs

Source: Michael Ratcliffe, Lawrenceville Patch, November 15, 2012

The president and vice president of the union that represents Lawrence Township’s police dispatchers appeared at last week’s Lawrence Township Council meeting to urge council not to trust such a vital service like dispatching to an unknown outside vendor.

Related:
Privatization of Police Dispatching, Ambulance Services Being Considered
Source: Michael Ratcliffe, Lawrenceville Patch, September 7, 2012

Lawrence Township Council Tuesday evening (Sept. 4) directed Township Manager Richard Krawczun to solicit competitive bids from vendors in an effort to determine if the township could save money by laying off its civilian police dispatchers and emergency medical technicians and, in their place, privatize the township’s police dispatching and ambulance services. … Earlier in the meeting, Krawczun noted that he had been meeting with the various unions that represent municipal employees. While he had nothing definitive to report, he reported that the unions were receptive to having further discussions about possible labor contract concessions to help solve the township’s budget woes and save jobs.

Lowell mulls diverting non-emergency calls to private firm

Source: Lyle Moran, lowellsun.com, August 13, 2012

The city is considering having the wireless radio fire-alarm system it had installed at a cost of $77,849 in 2009 reprogrammed so that some of the signals the new radio boxes send to the city’s 911 Communications Center are diverted elsewhere.

A request for proposals, or RFP, issued by the city in recent months seeks a company that will change the alarm system to send nonfire signals sent by the boxes instead to a private, central-station monitoring company.

Currently, both fire signals and nonfire signals sent by the radio boxes, including 68 municipal boxes, are sent to the city’s dispatch center in the Police Department headquarters downtown. A separate RFP put out by the city calls for a company to monitor the signals that would be sent to the central station until mid-2015.

ACS pays $4.5 million to settle class-action lawsuit by Oregon call center workers

Source: Brent Hunsberger, Oregonian, August 13, 2012

Affiliated Computer Services Inc. has agreed to pay $4.5 million to settle allegations it failed to properly pay wages and overtime to thousands of its Oregon employees for seven years. Up to 20,000 former and current employees of ACS, ACS Commercial Solutions and Livebridge call centers in Oregon could be eligible for between $50 and $260 from the class-action settlement…U.S. District Court Magistrate Thomas M. Coffin approved the preliminary settlement last month. The 2009 lawsuit, filed in Portland, alleged ACS failed to pay proper wages and overtime at its Oregon call centers, in violation of state law and the Federal Labor Standards Act….

…The settlement provides $2.6 million for eligible employees of ACS in Oregon between April 2, 2005 and April 24, 2012. They include phone agents, customer care assistants and and customer care specialists working in ACS retail, travel, insurance, BPS, telecommunications and technology business groups. …

Opinion: Political Private Practice

Source: Gail Collins, New York Times, June 20, 2012

…In the dreary world of the real, privatization means turning over a government function to the private sector. It has such a long history that it’s a wonder we still have any public sector left…. Politicians of both parties are privatization fans, although the Republicans are more so….In honor of the campaign season, maybe this is a good time to point out some examples of privatization disasters. Texas tried to turn eligibility screening for social services over to a private company, creating all sorts of messes until it gave up the experiment. The most apocryphal story involved a privately run call center that told applicants to send their documentation to a number that turned out to be the fax at a warehouse in Seattle. …

The Private Takeover That Hasn’t Happened: Fact Check

Source: Keegan Kyle, Voice of San Diego, June 12, 2012

….Discussing the suits during a recent interview with KPBS, Goldsmith said he wanted to avoid the legal delays that followed approval of a 2006 initiative that allowed San Diego to put city services out to bid to see whether the private sector could do them cheaper. The process is also known as managed competition….We decided to Fact Check Goldsmith’s claim that city employees had won all the bids…. The city has assessed private and public bids for three services — street sweeping, publishing and vehicle maintenance — and awarded the contract to city employees each time….The city is now in the process of evaluating bids for four other services: customer support for public utilities, Miramar Landfill operations, street and sidewalk maintenance, and other maintenance of public infrastructure. Each contract is scheduled to be awarded sometime next year.

“Romney outsourced call center jobs to India.”

Source: PolitiFact, June 11, 2012

…. The controversy popped up again in 2006 when then-Sen. Edward Kennedy criticized Romney for “jumping on the offshoring bandwagon,” according to a Boston Herald story. A Romney official told the newspaper that by then, only a handful of overseas workers were still working on a Medicaid subcontract. The food stamp contract previously held by Citigroup (later JP Morgan Chase) had expired and the new contract was awarded to a company whose call center was in Utah. Obama’s ad charges that “Romney outsourced call center jobs to India.” The Obama campaign’s wording suggests a broader, more deliberate policy when the state was sending some work overseas. But in choosing to veto the bill, Romney let the arrangement continue. The statement leaves out important information. We rate it Half True.

Bellingham, county approve framework for unified EMS system

Source: Zoe Fraley, Bellingham Herald, June 5, 2012

Whatcom County and Bellingham governments are moving forward with a unified Medic One system….In December 2010, Whatcom County Council voted to end the contract governing Medic One operations, citing cost, control and transparency issues. Officials have been meeting since to determine whether to split or maintain a unified Medic One, which handles the county’s most life-threatening 911 calls…. Rather than the previous system based on a single contract, Boyd said the new system likely will require four contracts. The city will have one contract with the county for administration, another with the county for operations and a third with Fire District 7 to handle billing for the district’s half-time medic unit. District 7, which serves Ferndale and the surrounding areas, will then have to contract with the county for its medic unit….

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s planned repairs to the 911 emergency call system are $1 billion over budget / City bungled the job, according to a new audit by Controller John Liu

Source: Juan Gonzalez, New York Daily News, March 21, 2012

City Hall aides repeatedly bungled supervision of a massive upgrade of the 911 system, even as the project fell years behind schedule and its cost ballooned by as much as $1 billion, an audit has found.

When Mayor Bloomberg launched the 911 project in 2004, he promised a seamless system that would replace antiquated police, fire and EMS call-taking and dispatch functions with 21st century technology. It had a price tag of $1.3 billion and was supposed to be done in three years.

City Hall now concedes the cost has zoomed to at least $2 billion, and Controller John Liu will claim Wednesday that the price tag is closer to $2.3 billion….Liu refused early last year to register a contract for Hewlett-Packard’s successor on the project, Northrop Grumman, unless the new contract contained safeguards against runaway costs.

Los Gatos and Campbell consider consolidation of their 911 dispatch centers

Source: Judy Peterson, San Jose Mercury News, September 26, 2011

Los Gatos and Campbell are exploring the idea of consolidating their 911 emergency dispatch centers, with plans in the works to hire a consultant who would help determine if consolidation is feasible. The consultant’s report would be due early next year, with a final decision made after that.

Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County officials hope to merge dispatch operations by February

Source: Ryan J. Stanton, AnnArbor.com, September 13, 2011

New details of a proposal to consolidate the city of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County 911 dispatch services surfaced Monday night. The merger would mean the loss of five full-time dispatch positions, but 10 part-time “call-taker” positions would be created, Police Chief Barnett Jones told members of the Ann Arbor City Council during a special work session.