Report flags state emergency call center


CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia's homeland security agency appears unable to staff its 24-hour emergency call center properly.A legislative audit released Tuesday says chronic vacancies have plagued the Emergency Management communications center since it was created in 2006.That has forced officials to spend $580,000 or 64 percent more than it would have, over six years on overtime instead of staff salaries and benefits.Even after the agency converted a pair of full-time positions into four part-time slots, all four remain unfilled.
Besides its own calls, the center also answers arson and environmental spill hotlines, and tip-lines for safe schools and miner and industrial workers. Military Affairs and Public Safety Secretary Joe Thornton said recruiting qualified call center staff has been challenging. The part-time annual starting salary is $22,584.
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