Expanding Benefits Another Tool for Counties to Retain 9-1-1 Telecommunicators

9-1-1 telecommunicators operate in a very stressful environment, and the nature of the job has made it difficult for counties to maintain a consistent staff over a long period of time. Senate Bill 1053 would allow local governments to expand benefits to these public safety telecommunicators and their dependants by implementing a tax credit up to $2,500 for property owned in the jurisdiction by a 9-1-1 telecommunicator.

The bill also expands the eligibility criteria for the Edward T. and Mary A. Conroy Scholarship to include public safety communicators and their dependents, and expressly authorizes county governments to provide death and funeral benefits for 9-1-1 public safety telecommunicators.

MACo Policy Associate Kevin Kinnally testified in support of SB 1053 before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on March 13, 2018.

From MACo Testimony:

The impacts of 9-1-1 work-related stress has made it difficult for counties to recruit and retain emergency dispatch personnel. High turnover rates and staffing shortages at dispatch centers could be further exasperated by the increased demands and training requirements before, during, and after the transition to Next Generation 9-1-1.

SB 1053 would provide counties with another tool to incentivize potential recruits and retain current employees. This legislation properly leaves the decision for expanding employee benefits in the hands of the local governments, who are best situated to determine whether such policies are in their best interest.”

For more on this and other legislation, follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2018 legislative session here.