Raises on the way for over-worked Broward 911 operators

Raises are on the way to the over-worked 911 communication operators in Broward County after a record number of people voted in a landslide victory to ratify a union contract tied to the raises.

The vote, by civilian workers and detention deputies, was 1,121 in favor and 106 against. The vote put to end fears workers at the dangerously understaffed 911 call centers had that their promised raises were doomed because only about 350 of some 2,500 Broward Sheriff’s Office workers eligible to vote Wednesday were getting substantial bumps in pay.


The Broward County Commission voted unanimously last month to give Sheriff Gregory Tony $4 million to increase communication operators salaries by as much as $29,000. The idea behind the raises was to to keep workers from going to higher paying call taker and dispatcher jobs in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

The communication operators as well as other non upper-management civilian workers are in the same bargaining unit as detention officers. And because the bargaining unit has not had a contract since October, the raises needed to be part of the new contract which was ratified in the landslide vote Wednesday.


“It’s going to be nice to finally work for what we deserve,” said a communication operator the South Florida Sun Sentinel has agreed to not name because he fears losing his job.

Broward County’s regional 911 operation, which serves all but two municipalities, is operating at a crisis level with not enough communication operators to answer the phones — leaving the public in danger as exposed by a series of ongoing South Florida Sun Sentinel investigations. Of some 450 positions, there are about 100 vacancies, said union boss Anthony Marciano.

“I’m just happy,” Marciano said Wednesday evening after the votes were tallied. “I’m just happy for our communication operators — and they deserve it.”

Raises with back pay to June 4, the first pay period after the county commission vote, should be in the July 8 paychecks, Marciano said.

Eileen Kelley can be reached at 772-925-9193 or ekelley@sunsentinel.com. Follow on Twitter @reporterkell.