MARION — The Marion Police Department is adding a new 911 operator and receptionists, and the Marion Public Library is adding a technology manager in the coming fiscal year.
The new positions were approved by the Marion City Council at a cost of $308,000 and will be funded by the growth in Marion’s property tax base, City Manager Lon Pluckhahn said.
Police Chief Mike Kitsmiller said the two part-time receptionists in his department will work at peak busy times and allow officers, especially on night and weekend shifts, to get out of the office and on the streets more.
Rhonda Kaczinski, manager of Public Safety 911 Communications, said the new 911 communications operator position — at a salary of $73,403 — is needed to maintain a two-person minimum for 24/7 staffing.
One traffic accident, she said, can generate more than 10 calls to 911. It’s difficult for one dispatcher to handle that call volume, especially if there is a second emergency at the same time.
In the last 24 years, the department has had six dispatchers, and the city has grown, Kaczinski said.
“It’s at that time where it is a safety thing for the officers as well as the dispatchers to make sure we are staffed well enough to cover the calls coming in,” she said.
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At the public library, technology services have been handled by the city and through a contract with the Cedar Rapids Public Library.
But with plans to break ground on a new, larger building this fall, it’s time the library had its own technology manager to serve patrons, library Director Hollie Trenary said.
“Not only does the library use technology, but we provide technology support to the community like internet access and training,” Trenary said. “That’s a unique skill set we need to have.”
She said the new employee — to be paid $104,849 — will help design the new library to increase its technology capabilities.
In addition, a part-time receptionist will be hired to work at the front counter when the city’s water department moves into its own facility this year.
Pluckhahn said fiscal 2021 is a “fairly typical” year for adding new employees to the city as it continues to grow.
“We take a look to make sure it’s going to be sustainable,” Pluckhahn said. “We don’t want to bring on new positions and look down the line and not have enough money to (fund them).”
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