FORT DODGE, Iowa — “Outsourcing to somebody who`s clear across the United States, I don`t think is really an answer,” said Mackenzie Conrad, a Webster County Dispatcher since February of 2017.
Conrad loves her job and she’s afraid she might lose it, if the Webster County Telecommunications Board decides to hire IXP Corporation to take over managing the day to day operations of the Webster County’s 911 dispatch center.
“They have said that we can reapply for our position, which to me, is just silly,” said Conrad. “If I already have the position, why do I need to reapply for this position type thing. but there’s no promise that you`re, we`re gonna get our jobs back with this company.”
Cory Husske, Chair of the Telecom Board and also the Fort Dodge Assistant Police Chief, says there will be no reduction in the amount of dispatchers that are employed.
“IXP, has offered as part of their proposal, to absorb the current employees, should they choose to work for them,” said Husske. “They would go through their application process, essentially, they would stop being employees of the Webster County Communications Center and then what would happen is, they would turn right around and apply for IXP and be looked at as employees of their corporation.”
Husske says there are a lot of misconceptions out there in the public about the proposed change.
“Some of the rumors that I’ve been hearing are that people will call from in Webster County, for example, with an emergency and that somehow the call’s going to be routed through New Jersey, and then back through Fort Dodge, with some sort of a delay…” said Husske. “…That would be the first misconception. Everything is going to remain local here.”
Husske compares the situation to a local McDonald’s.
“The franchise is owned by somebody that`s local,” said Husske. “The employees are people that are local, and the pay scale is attributed to the local pay scale for that region.”
In fact, Husske says Webster County dispatchers could actually make more money under the new arrangement, if it’s approved.
“The actual location of IXP here would be managed by people from Fort Dodge, employed by people from Fort Dodge,” said Husske. “The jobs would stay here and actually their pay scale reaches higher than the current scale that they’re getting right now.”
But Conrad says if IXP takes over, she’s not sure she will even re-apply, and she says her colleagues might decide to leave.
“It’s going to be a tough decision,” said Conrad. “And, it’s going to be hard to come into work, to know that your job is potentially being replaced by somebody or someone else.”