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Board Approves Incentives to Help E911 Center

picture of cobb's E911 center
November 11, 2021

Board Approves Incentives to Help E911 Center

The Department of Emergency Communications (E911) is facing a substantial recruitment and retention crisis. As of the date, the department has 29 vacancies. On top of the staffing shortage, the department is also severely understaffed by an additional 44 positions. This equates to a total of 73 open positions. These challenging times result in numerous hours of overtime, increased sick leave usage, stress, and burnout, and repeated denial of annual leave. From January 2, 2021 – September 29, 2021, thirteen employees were hired, twenty-three employees separated service, and 6,465 sick leave hours were used. Two incentives are being requested for hiring and retaining E911 employees. 

“Stay” Incentive: The “stay” incentive would be a non-cumulative payment to be distributed, in accordance with County Compensation Policy Section J, to the employees assigned to the Department of Emergency Communications. The ‘stay’ incentive, in the amount of $2,500.00, is to address a critical retention crisis and shall be paid out in multiple payments over a 10-12-month period. 

As part of the recruitment package, E911 recruitment would like to offer a one-time signing incentive for the Emergency Communications Officer (ECO) candidate to provide a more competitive recruitment tool to generate greater interest in the County’s open ECO positions. The hiring incentive is $1,500.00 for non-POST certified Emergency Communications Officers and $2,000.00 for POST-certified Emergency Communications Officers. Although the signing incentive is dependent on the number of new hires, successful completion of training, and any circumstances that result in separation within the allotted time frame. 

The signing incentive will continue for hiring purposes.

The Department of Emergency Communications is in a critical staffing crisis. Under normal conditions, the employees are subjected to an extreme amount of stress from the sheer critical nature of the work performed, and high standards. Recognizing their resiliency and commitment is a profound declaration that we can provide on behalf of the County as a token of gratitude, while also serving as a significant retention statement. 

Department of Emergency Communications Director, Melissa Alterio, states, “Recruitment and hiring is a crisis that 911 Centers face across the Country.  Here in Cobb County, we recognize the challenges of hiring, however, we must also remain focused on the employees that we currently have. They are the ones who are working long hours, constantly showing up on their off days, going above and beyond to serve our citizens and emergency responders. We value and appreciate each employee; the stay incentive is a small token of that appreciation with the message that retention is just as important, if not more so than recruitment.”  

Incentives were voted on and approved by the Board of Commissioners on November 9, 2021.