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Carteret County hopes to solve staff shortages by increasing pay

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 5:59 PM EST
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CARTERET COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - Leaders in Carteret County are working to fill open telecommunication positions as fewer people are available to answer serious calls.

“We are known as the first, first responders,” Kelly McAlexander, Carteret County telecommunication.

“So, when people are needing help in their worst of moments for whatever reason, we’re typically who they call when they don’t know who else to call.”

Kelly McAlexander, Carteret County telecommunication

No department, no matter how essential it is, is immune from the labor shortage it seems.

Carteret County is hoping large pay raises solve its problem. It’s offering a 12.5% pay increase for telecommunicators across the board.

“We went from a $33,000 a year salary for a starting telecommunicator to $37,000 a year,” said Stephen Rea, Carteret County Emergency Services director.

“The money certainly helps, who doesn’t like a raise!” McAlexander exclaimed.

The pay hike comes as many have been working extra shifts to make up for the lack of staff.

“We still have [a] good response time. It’s more stressful on our telecommunicators because they are accepting more calls than they’re used to,” Rea said.

Industries like emergency telecommunications hope a higher paycheck will help more people consider applying.

“I would encourage anybody that has any desire to help, that is motivated by public service to certainly give it some thought,” McAlexander said.

Ray Silance, Onslow County 911 supervisor, said the county’s center currently has four openings.

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