NORWICH – It came down to a matter of paying for public safety, but only after a lengthy executive session, allegations against the government’s committee system itself and a plethora of motions made and rescinded did the Chenango County Board of Supervisors figure out how to mesh the two.
Supervisors voted 14 to 5 (4 were absent) in favor of refilling a dispatcher’s position in the Sheriff’s Office with funds taken from a salary escrow account within the general fund. The position was left vacant when A. Wesley Jones was promoted to chief dispatcher last month. The money for it, however, had been stripped when Chairman Richard Decker, R-N. Norwich, appointed former chief dispatcher Matt Beckwith to Emergency Management Services Director and Fire Coordinator 15 months ago.
Lawmakers have been arguing within the boardroom and standing committees about the need to add staff at the Public Safety Facility ever since. Supervisor James Bays, D-Smyrna, has called for the Sheriff to oversee dispatch services and place Beckwith back in his former position. The question of paying for over time versus a salary with benefits has dominated the discussions.