Representatives of Minot, Minot Police Department, Ward County, Ward County Sheriff's Department, the school board, and the parks met for a noon lunch Liaison Meeting at the Grand Hotel Monday to discuss the hiring of a full-time 911 Coordinator.
The first order of business was to elect Jack Nybakken, who is chairman of the Ward County Commissioners, as chairman of the City/County/Park/-School Liaison Committee.
Currently an officer with the Minot Police Department is allotted 15 percent of his time toward coordinating 911 services. Law enforcement present at the meeting indicated that the duties are now taking much more of his time and that the needs have grown larger than such a small allotment.
The county has proposed hiring a full-time coordinator to be housed in the Ward County Emergency Management Office, with the salary to be paid by the 911 fee. The fee is currently $1.25, and the public safety administrator for dispatching said that the current funding levels should be fine through 2014 but that in 2015 they may need to review the funding level and perhaps raise the fee to $1.50.
Ward County residents voted to approve a ballot measure for the fee to be raised from the then-$1.00 fee to a fee not to exceed $1.50 last Novemeber.
The county and city are very interested that the coordinator possesses government information system, or GIS, knowledge but that the applicant doesn't necessarily need to be an expert.
In an interview with The Minot Daily News, Ward County auditor and treasurer Devra Smestad used the analogy that if somebody is on a long road trip they would want their navigating passenger to possess the knowledge to know how to use a map.
It was recommended that the coordinator be employed at the higher end of the level-23 county payment range, which is between $48,070 and $52,877, with benefits included.
Various people at the meeting said they felt more comfortable with this hiring level than a lower one so to attract more applicants with better mapping knowledge.
Although county commissioner Alan Walter was not present at the meeting, those who were gave much discussion, which Walter requested, on the future county Emergency Operation Center, which will be housed in the southwest corner of the upcoming Ward County Office Building. Nothing was finalized at the meeting, but Smestad said that many requirements for the center have already been designed. This includes a kitchen, meeting rooms, and other services.