By Ted Scouten

BROWARD (CBSMiami) – Tempers flared as Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony and commissioners discussed how to address a staffing shortage at the 911 center.

Commissioner Mark Bogen and Sheriff Tony squared off at Tuesday’s meeting.

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“I would like to make a direction to the county attorney that in September we do not renew this contract,” said Commissioner Bogen. “We need to hire somebody with decades of experience.”

Sheriff Tony took offense.

“My command staff has over 500 years of public safety experience.  How many do you have?  How many doors have you kicked down, how many lives have you saved?  How many times have you had to extract somebody from a burning building or put your [expletive] on the line when someone’s getting shot at? You are out of line in the notion that they are not prepared. I’m not going to stand here and accept that,” he said.

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At issue —Sheriff Tony said Broward’s  911 center needs to hire 86 people within the next few years and increase salaries to keep employees from going to other agencies.

“There’s a difference in salaries between $15,000 to $23,000, meaning an entry person will make $15,000 less as an operator one, and when they top out they will still be 20K less compared to what is being disbursed at Palm Beach County,” Sheriff Tony said.

In the end, the commission voted to have the county attorney draft a plan to give $4.7 million to BSO for 911 personnel for raises, retention and recruitment.

“This is something we have to figure out together and I appreciate what you brought forward today.  I think the salary increases are justified. I think they make sense because of the competition,” said Commissioner Beam Furr.

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The commission will vote at their next meeting. This money would be earmarked for the current fiscal year.  They still have to work on a long-term plan.

Ted Scouten