The village, Monday, voted to sign a collective bargaining agreement with emergency dispatchers for the next three years. Dispatchers will receive a wage increase of 2 percent, 1.5 percent and 2 percent for the next three years. 

Dealing with rising insurance costs, the village has used a similar formula for all the union agreements this year to make it easier for employees to choke down increased employee contributions for health insurance, said Village Administrator Tim Gillian. 

Gillian said the employees would be expected to cover 15-17 percent of their insurance premiums and, in exchange, get an additional 1 percent boost in salary.

“That’s the same agreement we used for the police and fire contracts, and for AFSCME, for that matter,” Gillian said. 

Longtime employees also get a boost if they stay with the village. After eight years, dispatchers get a $1,800 bonus per year in longevity pay. After 20 years, the contract allows an additional salary “step” of $4,000. After 30 years, veteran dispatchers get an extra $5,000 per year.

The village employs seven dispatchers who work independently for the Forest Park police and fire departments. In 2013, they answered 28,355 calls for service. Dispatchers are represented by the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council for Communications Operators.

Starting dispatchers earn $42,872.48. After six years, dispatchers earn $62,218.48.

Neighboring towns have collaborated on the West Suburban Consolidated Dispatch Center (WSCDC), a central dispatch facility located in Elmwood Park, which takes 911 calls for Elmwood Park, Oak Park and River Forest. 

—Jean Lotus

 

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...