Ken Carlson

County Pulse: New executive hired for Stanislaus Regional 911 dispatch center

An executive director has been recruited and hired to manage the Stanislaus Regional 911 center.

The Joint Powers Authority has more often appointed local police lieutenants and fire officials to oversee the dispatch center in Modesto, which is the lifeline for residents in most of Stanislaus County.

Scotty Douglas brings a background in dispatch communications and leadership as he takes over as executive director, effective Monday.

“We thought it was necessary to hire someone who understands dispatch operations and can relate to both police and fire services,” said Stan Risen, chief executive officer for Stanislaus County.

Douglas most recently worked for a private firm and previously spent 10 years in management positions with Santa Cruz Regional 911. He also has worked as a public safety dispatcher and served in communications with the U.S. Navy.

Wendy Silva stepped in to serve as interim director for Stanislaus Regional in the past five months.

The new director will manage a dispatching staff that has been unhappy with pay issues and work schedules.

“He probably is coming highly qualified, but we have had qualified people there in the past,” said Roger Ladd, who retired in 2011 after 30 years as a Stanislaus Regional 911 dispatcher and training officer. “Unfortunately, the Joint Powers Authority and user agencies have been unwilling to support the person in that position. ... People are working a horrible amount of overtime to keep it in operation.”

The former shop steward said something needs to be done to keep the best and brightest dispatch employees from leaving for other agencies.

The center, operated through a JPA between the county and Modesto, handles emergency dispatches for more than 20 law enforcement and fire agencies.

The county is the official employer of the dispatching staff, while Modesto handled the recruitment for an executive director.

Risen also announced two county staff appointments this week.

Tamara Thomas, former director of county child support services, began a new role Tuesday as interim director of human resources. She is on course to become the permanent director after a trial period is completed, Risen said. Former director Nancy Bronstein left in January for a job with the city of Alameda.

Also, a thumbs up for Paul Gibson, who has a new title as director of strategic business technology in charge of computer systems and technology support for county departments.

Gibson was the county’s chief information officer for a number of years and then cuts during the recession made him the IT director for mental health. He also has been a deputy director in emergency services.

Ken Carlson: 209-578-2321, @KenCarlson16