The assistant director ever since the facility opened, she will fill in for Miguel Santiago, who has been called to active military duty.
Upon the recommendation of Auburn Police Chief George Lockhart, who is the chairman of JECOB (the Joint Emergency Communications Operation Board), the court approved Sams' promotion and granted her a 10 percent pay raise for the remainder of her tenure, the length of which is, of course, uncertain.
Sams told the court that she needs more workers immediately, that she only has five full-time and two part-time dispatchers. A staff of 13 is considered complete.
The magistrates were eager to comply, since the EOC is having to pay so much overtime now to those who are trained to do the job.
Sams says it takes several weeks to train a dispatcher, and then they must go to Richmond for four weeks of Eastern Kentucky University-based training.
It was asked if the EOC can require dispatchers to sign an agreement to stay on with the department for two years after getting their training as the sheriff's department does, but new Sheriff Wallace Whittaker revealed that the policy is no longer being followed, that a federal court has ruled such requirements are illegal.
Magistrate Harold Prince said he doesn't understand why the federal government can require students to repay government loans but a governing body can't be reimbursed for sending an employee to school.
No mention was made of a pay increase for dispatchers. That was a major topic last fall and played a role in the local EOC staff to be reduced to a skeleton crew. The court authorized a personnel/pay play study by a consultant, but nothing has been revealed yet about the study, and no steps have been taken to bring in more revenue to fund a pay hike.