Mashpee Selectmen Concerned about Dispatch Budget Increase

MASHPEE – The Mashpee Board of Selectmen is considering options as the town’s share of the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center has increased by about $15,000 this year.

Nearly a dozen towns and agencies, including Mashpee Fire & Rescue, contract out their dispatch to the Sheriff’s Office center on Joint Base Cape Cod.

The 14 percent increase brings the budget line item to more than $118,000.

Barnstable County Sheriff James Cummings said the increase is needed to help retain employees that are leaving for higher paying dispatch jobs, according to Mashpee Fire Chief Thomas Rullo.

“It’s expensive because he loses the employees with all the training he puts into it and they go and work for other towns,” Rullo said.

Rullo said the sheriff is looking to offer more promotional opportunities to retain workers.

“He’s had an issue with trying to keep some supervisors in key positions so he has increased his amount of supervisors,” Rullo said.

A lack of staffing due to employees leaving has also led to higher overtime costs.

Selectmen chair Andrew Gottlieb said he has a problem with the increase.

“We went through this like four years ago when they came in with a really big increase and we balked at it,” Gottlieb said. “Then all of a sudden it went down and it stayed flat for four years and now all of a sudden it’s up 14 percent.”

The 2016 budget increase was due to a shift from per-call fees to a per-capita fee.

Selectman Tom O’Hara asked Fire Chief Thomas Rullo if the town could save money by operating its own dispatch center.

Rullo believes that would be quite expensive but said he would analyze the potential cost.

“Dispatching is very, very stressful. It’s a very big part,” Rullo said. “If they don’t get this right at the dispatch center it can mess up the whole call.”

Rullo said the Sheriff’s Office also takes care of the installation and repair of the town’s radios and do not charge for the service.

About Brian Merchant

Brian Merchant grew up in Central Massachusetts and now lives in South Dennis on the Cape. He has been part of the news team in the NewsCenter since the spring of 2014. He studied radio broadcasting at the University of Tennessee.
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