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File #: 200036    Version: 0 Name:
Type: Resolution Status: IN COMMITTEE
File created: 1/23/2020 In control: Joint Committees on Labor & Civil Service and Public Safety
On agenda: Final action: 1/23/2020
Title: Authorizing the Committees on Labor & Civil Service and Public Safety to hold joint hearings regarding hiring, staffing, and retention challenges for the 911 Unified Call center, and the impact these challenges have on the health and well-being of 911 dispatchers.
Sponsors: Councilmember Parker, Council President Clarke, Councilmember Jones, Councilmember Squilla, Councilmember O'Neill, Councilmember Johnson, Councilmember Gilmore Richardson, Councilmember Thomas, Councilmember Gauthier, Councilmember Brooks, Councilmember Quiñones Sánchez, Councilmember Gym, Councilmember Domb, Councilmember Oh, Councilmember Bass, Councilmember Henon, Councilmember Green
Attachments: 1. Signature20003600
Title
Authorizing the Committees on Labor & Civil Service and Public Safety to hold joint hearings regarding hiring, staffing, and retention challenges for the 911 Unified Call center, and the impact these challenges have on the health and well-being of 911 dispatchers.
Body
WHEREAS, 911 "dispatchers are a linchpin of the nation's emergency-response infrastructure. Their responses to 911 calls directly impact how quickly police, firefighters and other first responders are sent to help and whether they go to the right place," according to a Wall Street Journal article entitled "911 Emergency: Call Centers Can't Find Workers"; and
WHEREAS, When most Philadelphians call 911, they understandably do not think about the other person at the end of the line - the 911 dispatcher answering their call. They expect, or more likely need, assistance as soon as possible, and the 911 dispatchers are trained to do exactly that; and
WHEREAS, But, the 911 dispatchers are not machines. They are people too, and according to The Wall Street Journal, "the job can require workers to make snap judgments on life-or-death situations, often based on incomplete information, for about what they could make working as a manager at a retail store"; and
WHEREAS, Recruiting and hiring 911 dispatchers, effectively staffing 911 call centers, and retaining 911 dispatchers has been a national problem for at least several decades, and it has only gotten worse in recent years' tight labor markets; and
WHEREAS, A Philadelphia Inquirer article published on August 22, 2018 that focused specifically on Montgomery County's 911 call center challenges echoed the fact that counties and states across the country have "grappled with a dire shortage of 911 call-takers and dispatchers, jobs with long hours, high stress," and relatively low pay; and
WHEREAS, Philadelphia's 911 Unified Call center is not only competing with other City employers for employees; it is also competing with surrounding counties. In the A...

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