Lincoln County Communications has only nine of the 16 jobs filled. On September 20, Director Tara Doe reported the addition of a new emergency dispatcher and the departure of another. Doe announced that Kristi Krause would begin her six-month training upon her arrival from Texas. Krause, who recently moved to Boothbay, has no experience as a dispatcher, but has worked in emergency services. Starting from center is Robert Collins. He previously worked for 35 years in New York as a dispatcher. “He moved here thinking a change of scenery would help him escape burnout,” Doe said. “He was an asset to the department, but he decided to leave.”
Doe then met in executive session to discuss creative ways to staff the communications center. The department has eight shifts with six dispatchers plus Doe and the assistant manager. Following the executive session, County Administrator Carrie Kipfer said “Commissioners voted to make a temporary change to overtime pay rates for emergency communications officers, pending communication with union representatives. Effective October 1 through December 31, all overtime-eligible shifts performed by full-time, non-trainee emergency dispatch communicators will be paid at the prevailing rate of pay. Effective October 1, the rate of pay for Reserve Emergency Communications Officers will increase to $30 per hour.
Kipfer then told reporters via email that Curt Bigelow had rescinded his resignation.
In a separate action, commissioners approved payments requested by the sheriff’s department and the emergency management agency. Sheriff Todd Bracket was authorized to pay $3,063.08 for the NetMotion software. Brackett explained that the expense is a license fee. “The software leverages our mobile data units in cars so officers can communicate with the communications system,” he said. EMA Director Casey Stevens has been cleared to pay the second half of his storage lease. The commissioners approved the payment of $5,750 to Just Right Storage in Damariscotta.
Kipfer was authorized to pay $4,312 to C&S Flooring of Woolwich for repairs to the communications center floor. During the recent console upgrade, the company was hired to cover the remaining holes from the previous console system. The ground floor is blue, but only a black floor was available. “Our plan was to temporarily cover the floor with black tiles. “Now there’s a random pattern of blue and black, and it looks awesome,” she said. Kipfer also briefed commissioners on the preliminary details of an opioid settlement. Lincoln County entered into a nationwide settlement and received a check for $30,365.48 as its first payment. “I contacted the law firm for more details, but that’s all the information we have now,” Kipfer said. Commissioners placed the payment in a separate account pending details of how the funds might be spent.
The commissioners will then meet at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, October 4 at the courthouse.