While telecommunicators in 9-1-1 centers are being touted this week as 'heroes behind the scene,' their wages are an issue for the Iroquois County Board.
An arbitrator is the next step in ongoing negotiations between the county and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). The FOP represents the nine radio dispatchers employed by ICOM.
Contract negotiations with the dispatchers date back to July of 2014. That's when the ICOM Board started working on a new contract. Following the break-up of the former ICOM / 911 set-up by the past county board, negotiations resumed with the County Board in January of 2015.
A mediator met with the two sides 6-7 times over several months. Negotiations are now headed to arbitration.
Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz says telecommunicators are critical to every aspect of public safety. He said 'they hold one of the least visible, yet most stressful jobs in public safety.'