Unprofessional conduct’ gets 911 dispatcher fired

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 13, 2001

[9/13/01]An E911 dispatcher accused of unprofessional conduct was fired Wednesday in a called meeting of the Warren County E911 Commission, Mayor Laurence Leyens said. Two others are reported to have resigned in protest.

Warren County Volunteer Fire Department Coordinator Kelly Worthy and Vicksburg Fire Chief Kevin Westbrook confirmed there was a termination, but it was in executive session and they could not comment further.

Lynn Marsalis, outgoing as director of the emergency dispatching center, said his office has received two verbal resignations from other dispatchers in response to the termination, but the names were not being released because he has not received written confirmation.

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The possible resignations and termination could pose “additional stress” and “a risk,” Marsalis said about his already understaffed E911 office.

He said that his office has seven certified dispatchers and four partially certified dispatchers. E911 is authorized for 14 dispatchers, four shift supervisors and 10 dispatchers, he said.

The search for new dispatchers is continuing, but training will take six to nine months to certify a new dispatcher, he said.

Leyens said he is worried about the shortage but the difference could be made up from several of the 12 people, mostly civilians, who were terminated from the Vicksburg Police Department in a force reduction this week.

Under state law, boards may meet in closed session for personnel matters, but closure is not required. The law also says that while discussions can remain private, actions taken in closed sessions must be made public in minutes or otherwise. One report said no minutes were taken of the called meeting.

The commission will meet again Wednesday in a closed session to interview six people for the position of E911 director.