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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