Discussions planned on Fairfield agreement on dispatch services

FAIRFIELD – Jefferson County Supervisor Daryn Hamilton appeared before the Fairfield City Council Monday night to discuss the county’s agreement governing emergency dispatch in the county.

Under the current arrangement, the 9-1-1 dispatchers at the Jefferson County Law Center are employees of the city of Fairfield. The city has announced a desire to revisit that structure. Earlier this year, Fairfield Police Chief David Thomas said he was interested in exploring an option where the dispatchers report to an independent communications board, such as how they are structured in Des Moines County (home to Burlington).

Fairfield City Administrator Aaron Kooiker said the city wants to look into changing how the dispatch center is funded. Hamilton said he, fellow supervisor Dee Sandquist and incoming supervisor Susie Drish have all agreed to revisit the agreement and discuss changes with the city. Kooiker and Hamilton agreed they would talk Tuesday to schedule a work session to discuss the matter.

In other news, council member Judy Ham raised concerns about the newly created Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee after reading its meeting minutes. She said the notion of equality and equity in the organization’s meeting minutes differs from that in the state and national constitutions.

“It’s not the job of government to be giving opportunity,” she said. “We assist opportunity to happen, but we don’t give opportunity. It’s getting things backward.”

Ham then read definitions of “equality” and “equity” from a dictionary. Mayor Connie Boyer suggested Ham meet with the diversity committee to discuss these issues. Council member Michael Halley said the council wasn’t trying to set policy that night, just accept the committee’s meeting minutes. Ham said she wanted to make sure members of the community were aware of how the committee was using words like “equality.”

Council member Doug Flournoy motioned to accept the committee’s minutes, which the council voted to accept. Ham voted no on the motion.