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County may take over all dispatching

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

After years of having separate fire and police dispatch systems, Pulaski is looking into the possibility of purchasing its dispatch services from Pulaski County in the future.

Pulaski Town Council has authorized Town Manager John Hawley and Pulaski Police Chief Gary Roche to begin negotiations aimed at possibly securing a contract for dispatch services.

Councilman Jamie Radcliffe made the motion, saying the issue has been discussed at several meetings, but he would “like to see this thing jump up to the next level.”

His motion to have Hawley and Roche “begin negotiations with the appropriate representatives of the county of Pulaski for the purpose of developing a possible contract to allow the town of Pulaski to purchase all police and fire dispatch services from the county” was seconded by Councilman Greg East.

However, before a vote was taken, Councilman David Clark questioned whether the motion was the action that had been discussed by council.

“This is a little different from what we’ve actually been talking about,” he said. “What we talked about was initiating an investigation phase to find out what the financial ramifications of this will be for both parties. What you’re saying does not actually address that at all.”

Clark said he doesn’t feel comfortable voting on the motion until “we know what this is going to do for either agency.”

East said it was his understanding the motion was to negotiate.

Radcliffe agreed. He said the motion was just to “negotiate a possible” contract. “It doesn’t mean we’re entering into anything whatsoever. If we get down the road and it’s not going to fit, we’ve not entered into anything,” he said.

He suggested efforts to move forward with an investigation into the matter are being bogged down by new questions.

“This doesn’t mean we’re going to enter into anything with the exception of a possible contract,” Radcliffe added, stressing the word “possible.”

Clark said he isn’t arguing the matter, but “the way we put it together initially was we wanted to commission a study to investigate this so that we would know what we were talking about when we started a proposal.”

East said he understands Radcliffe’s motion to authorize a fact-finding mission.

To clarify the negotiations, Goodman said a “memorandum of understanding setting the boundaries of discussion” needs to be adopted at council’s next meeting so both sides have some direction. “This motion just sets the groundwork for that particular discussion,” he said.

“If we get down the road and it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. That’s the way it is,” added Radcliffe.

The motion passed 6-0.

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