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Director decision: Leave or be fired



Published: Wed, July 27, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Friction first erupted publicly during last week's 911 presentation.

WARREN -- Trumbull County 911 director Tim Gladis has been asked to resign by Friday, or he will be fired.

The move comes as county commissioners pore over recommendations from a paid consultant for retooling the county's 911 operations.

"We need to restructure the whole thing," Commissioner James Tsagaris said.

Tsagaris said county Administrator Tony Carson Jr. and James Keating, personnel director, delivered the message Tuesday to Gladis.

Gladis was told to resign or be fired by the end of the pay period, which is Friday. "It's one of the two," Tsagaris said.

The 911 director could not be reached to comment. Gladis, formerly a Brookfield Township police chief, has been Trumbull's 911 director for eight years.

Just last week, Gladis and Commissioner Paul Heltzel clashed during RCC Consultants' presentation of the 911 analysis. Heltzel suggested then that the county might want to find someone else who could make changes happen with 911, rather than be "the obstructionist" to change.

Gladis has previously lamented that some union work rules limit his options for making staffing changes per shift. He has also cited some local governments' reluctance to give up local dispatching control to join the 911 Center in Howland as it tries to restructure.

Gladis did, however, agree with the findings that more local governments should join the county's 911 operation. His suggestion that the county's paying its way fully would make signing on more palatable was immediately shot down by Heltzel last week.

Total restructuralization

Tsagaris said Tuesday that the commissioners' restructuring of 911 needs to start at the top.

The 911 Center in Howland Township is 80 percent funded by Trumbull County and 20 percent by member communities. Some communities -- Liberty, Girard, Newton Falls, Warren Township, Niles, Hubbard and Lordstown -- have their own dispatching operations.

Trumbull County's 911 Center dispatches for 20 townships, Cortland, Orangeville and the Trumbull County Sheriff's Department. Some of these participants have been looking to the other communities which have dispatching for other service options, and their leaving 911 would hurt the operation's budget.

The county 911 operation's funding arrangement since 1998 was "flawed from the outset," the consultant found.

The problem, RCC's report said, is that the townships' contribution to 911 was locked at a set range regardless of actual costs. This forces the county to fund equipment replacement and wage increases.

Overhauling that formula, the RCC report says, could involve a two-tiered payment per township of 50 percent based on usage and 50 percent based on population; or a one-time fixed upward adjustment of the townships' share; or the county picking up the entire cost through a sales tax or some sort of assessment on residents.

Before layoffs this year due to tight county finances, Trumbull 911 had employed 30 full-time employees: 23 dispatchers, four supervisors, a data processor, a director and an assistant director. Its full-time union employees make $14.74 an hour and part-time union employees make $11.22 hourly.

In 2004 the center took 20,000 calls to 911 and 283,000 nonemergency 10-digit calls. Its 2004 budget was $2.2 million.




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