Dane County last week posted a job description for a new 911 Center director, a position it's known it would have to fill since Sept. 5, when embattled top dog Joe Norwick resigned.
What took so long?
Dane County Supv. Eileen Bruskewitz has a theory. She calls it "a well-planned political maneuver," since the new hire is set to be made in early April, just before the county executive election.
"In the meantime," says Bruskewitz, "the 911 Center is still in bad shape and there was a second death." Brittany Zimmermann died in April and a man was beaten to death in November, both after calls to the 911 Center failed to lead to police being dispatched.
Josh Westcott, a spokesman for County Executive Kathleen Falk, says the county went through a multi-step process of hiring a professional "headhunter" firm to aid in its search. In December, it hired the Mercer Group to do so, for $21,500.
Beyond that, Westcott disputes claims that the 911 Center is in "bad shape," calling this "easy rhetoric to kind of throw out there." He cites a recent report showing that the 640,000 calls to the center last year were answered, on average, after 1.2 rings. "And that's without the additional staff and software" that will soon be in place.