The Board of Trustees approved a request June 12 for a three-year contract between the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office and the Macomb Township Fire Department for fire dispatching services.

The Board of Trustees approved a request June 12 for a three-year contract between the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office and the Macomb Township Fire Department for fire dispatching services.

File photo by Deb Jacques


Macomb board approves contract for fire dispatching services

Township dispatchers could be laid off

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published June 25, 2019

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Macomb Township could enter into a contract with the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office for fire dispatching services.

A request was approved June 12 by the Board of Trustees for a three-year contract with the Sheriff’s Office for fire dispatching services. The contract would be final if approved by the Macomb County Board of Commissioners.   

Macomb Township already has a contract with the Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement services.

Macomb Township Fire Chief Robert Phillips said the downside to the contract is that it will result in the layoff of 10 part-time dispatchers. The Macomb County Communications and Technology Center, or COMTEC, has indicated that current dispatchers could apply for a dispatcher position with it.

Trustee Tim Bussineau said he was torn on how to vote on this request.

“People I really trust told me our residents are going to be better served, our firefighters are going to be able to respond quicker and be more organized,” he said. “I don’t take the decision to lay people off easy.”

Phillips said he also didn’t take the recommendation lightly that 10 families would be impacted by layoffs.

“The dispatchers are more than welcome to apply,” he said. “All they have to do is put on the application they were one of our dispatchers and they will do everything possible to help them with the process and land one of the currently opened positions at COMTEC.”

Prior to the vote, Joseph O’Connor, a labor relations specialist for the Michigan Association of Public Employees and labor representative of the Macomb Township Public Employees Association, said he saw two negative impacts of the contract.

“You’re going to layoff township employees and the cost appears to be significant, about $1.6 million for three years,” he said.

He added that the payroll for dispatchers in that time is about $360,000.

“I would think we could take that money, keep the dispatchers in-house and keep people employed in this township,” he said.

During preparation of the 2019-2020 budget, Phillips spoke to Supervisor Janet Dunn, requesting her approval to contact the Sheriff’s Office and request they review their proposal to provide dispatching services for the Fire Department.

On May 24, Phillips received the proposal, which is to provide full dispatch services for the Fire Department, meaning emergency calls will be completely handled at COMTEC.

A cost breakdown of services indicates $354,534 in 2019, $358,668 next year and $362,901 in 2021.

Currently, the Sheriff’s Office provides full-service dispatching for fire departments in  Sterling Heights, Clinton Township, Mount Clemens, Harrison Township and Washington Township.

The contract is set to provide Macomb Township fire with the latest technology available, not only within fire stations, but also with fire apparatus.

Each apparatus will be outfitted with a mobile data terminal that’s connected 24/7 to COMTEC.

In addition to applying at COMTEC, the combined dispatching force of St. Clair Shores, Eastpointe and Roseville, or SERESA, indicated that it has job openings.

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