Seaford council votes to send 911 services to the county

SEAFORD, Del. – Tuesday night the Seaford City Council voted 3-1 to move 911 call services to the county and keep a smaller, reduced call center to assist with police and utilities.

The vote followed a recommendation from the 911 call center committee for the council to consider three options. The first, to transfer the services to the county and close the 911 call center. The second, to keep the call center as is. The third, to transfer the call services to the county and keep the center to assist.

“It’s not quite the decision we were hoping for, I was hoping for option one of keeping the 911 center open,” said Anita Bell, the 911 center’s dispatch administrator and the member of the committee.

The committee was formed after an August decision by the council to table the vote on the future of the 911 center. Their task was to look at ways to keep the center and decide whether or not it would be feasible. According to Mayor David Genshaw, the committee met twice before deciding to present their recommendations early because employees had already decided to leave the call center because of the uncertainty surrounding the situation.

Councilman James King voted against the motion to accept option 3 and was critical Tuesday night of the entire process.

“It was very rushed and I think everyone was in a hurry to get our call center closed,” King said.

During the meeting, King also questioned city manager Charles Anderson about whether the committee thoroughly looked at ways to cut costs to keep the call center which runs the city roughly $650,000 annually.

Anderson said a few options were discussed, but the committee felt that the council had already gone through the budget.

King disputed that after the meeting.

“He sat there and he fabricated his answer, the answer that he gave us is not going to match up with the committee members, the truth that they’re going to tell you, that they didn’t do their due diligence they didn’t dive into the report the way the city manager said that they did,” King said.

That claim was backed by Bell who also presented a different version of events.

“If you ask me if there were ways that we looked at cost-saving, I would disagree. However, that’s my opinion,” Bell said. “At the end of the day we were pretty much advised that the budget is not our problem, the budget is for the council.”

But Mayor Genshaw was quick to dispute those claims.

“Absolutely not, no truth to that,” Mayor Genshaw said in response to a question about Councilman King’s allegations. “It’s ok to disagree and I believe Councilman King disagrees it’s ok, but there was no other plan put forth by Councilman King, there was no proposal by Councilman King.”

Mayor Genshaw also said he feels for the employees of the dispatch center and understands that move is not what everyone wants, but may turn out to be what is best.

“I think tonight we really settled on a middle ground that’ll support everybody. I know it’s still difficult, but I think it’s the right decision for Seaford’s future.”


Categories: Delaware, Local News, Local Politics