- Associated Press - Sunday, November 22, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A dozen emergency dispatchers who will lose their jobs when the Mandan dispatch center closes haven’t shown interest in working across the river at a combined call center in Bismarck.

Morton County commissioners decided earlier this month to dissolve the Morton County-Mandan Combined Communications Center agreement effective Jan. 1. Emergency calls from the Mandan area will then be handled by the Bismarck-Burleigh Combined Communications Center.

The Mandan City Commission had voted to merge its emergency dispatch system with the one based in Bismarck. Morton County commissioners rejected the consolidation, and with Mandan leaving, the county can’t afford its own dispatcher center. The county will transition its calls via the State Radio System.

Bismarck call center director Mike Dannenfelzer said it added two vacancies because of the merger and had two other empty slots. He told the Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/1LpK26d ) that none of the emergency dispatchers from Mandan had applied for the vacancies in Bismarck as of Nov. 13.

“We have reached out to them several times, but there have been no applications,” he said.

Dispatcher Scott Austin said he’s seeking other work with Morton County, where he has worked for 17 years, including time with the sheriff’s office. He’s doubtful his benefits at the Bismarck communications center would be as good.

“I’m very sad to see the dispatch center go,” Austin said. “We’ve got a good group of people here. We’re family, and now they’re separating us.”

Four Mandan dispatchers have been hired at the State Radio System in the past three months, said director Mike Lynk. He added that three more open positions will be advertised there next month.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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