911 Tucson call center troubles get an airing

Tucson 911 call center

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Tucson City Council will hear from management as to why there are so many issues with the newly consolidated Tucson 911 call center.

In a 41-page summary assessment done by the Phoenix firm Traaen & Associates LLC, 108 employees were interviewed about issues which have cropped up since the city consolidated the center in 2017.

According to the assessment, having police and fire dispatch under the same roof is causing problems because as one employee reportedly said “they truly don’t like each other.”

Problems include sexual harassment, fighting, bullying and constant employee turnover.

According to the report, 50 to 60% of the employees are looking to leave as quickly as they can find another job. A copy of the report can be found here.

“We’ve had pushback from the employees ever since the conversation about consolidation began,” said Ward 6 council member Steve Kozachik. “People get entrenched in their ways and they’re resistant to change.”

Kozachik believes the assessment, which was ordered by the Tucson City Manager Michael Ortega, is flawed.

“I think the assessment itself by virtue of the fact it’s listening to just one group of people is flawed,” he said. “But that’s the reason the burden shifts to us to hear the other side and then make decisions.”

The Tucson City Council will hear those arguments at its study session Oct. 20, 2020.

What decisions it will make it still up in the air but Ortega has told the council he will have a plan in place by Oct. 23.

“I’m not going to tell them how to fix this,” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. “What I’m going to ask the city manage to do is fix it immediately.”

She believes the current state of affairs at the center is “unacceptable.”

Kozachik says he believes the solution lies with the employees.

“The bottom line is, what’s good for the community is consolidation out there and the employees need to buy into that,” he said.

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