Overtime in Minneapolis 911 could top $700,000 by year’s end

There is a serious shortage of 911 operators and dispatchers at the Minneapolis Emergency Communications Center and mandatory overtime is now required to cover all of the shifts that run around the clock seven days a week.

Records obtained by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS indicate, through the first five months of this year, total overtime expenses for 52 supervisors, operators and dispatchers is more than $335,000. If the overtime payments continue at that pace through the last three months of the year, the total overtime paid out in the 911 center would exceed $700,000.

MECC Director, Joni Hodne, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the 911 staff is “tired” and working a lot of overtime to cover shifts, but she said she remains confident their jobs can be done well as the city pursues new employees to fill its employment gaps.

“They’re tired and there’s no doubt about it and this is putting a lot of pressure on them,” said Hodne.  “has our call time increased? Absolutely. We’re running about 15 to 20 seconds now about 80% to 85% of the time and while this is below the national standard, our call takers are doing everything they can to answer those timely and promptly.”

Hodne said the city has more than 290 applications they are working through right now after a $1,000 signing bonus was offered.

The 911 center is budgeted for 69 employees and right now there are 45 working full-time.