ShareThis Page

Munhall officials discuss communication problems, nonemergency phone numbers

| Friday, Aug. 22, 2014, 3:26 a.m.

Munhall officials are discussing whether a new nonemergency phone number is needed for the police department after councilman Rick Brennan reported various communication problems.

“I just think that what we have now is not working,” Brennan said at a meeting on Wednesday. “We're almost alienating our police department from the people.”

Calls to the former police number, 412-464-7300, are rerouted to the Allegheny County 911 Center as part of the borough's switch from its own dispatching service to county communications earlier this year.

Police Capt. Scott Snyder acknowledged an increased call volume recorded in the department's monthly report as a result of the switch, because of emergency and nonemergency calls being dispatched by the 911 center.

Before the switch, borough dispatchers were able to handle a variety of nonemergency calls.

The borough office number, 412-464-7310, sends callers to an automated message where they can press 7 to speak to someone in the police department. That option has another automated message in which callers can search a department directory.

Brennan said he had several problems with the automated system when attempting to reach police Chief Pat Campbell.

“There's a big room for improvement,” Brennan said about the system.

“I think we've lost a community-friendly police department by not having someone man that desk,” councilman Rob Falce said.

“We have plenty of people who can pick up a phone,” councilman Bernie Shields said. “No one's assigned to do it.”

Mayor Raymond Bodnar suggested increasing a security guard's hours so he could be around to answer the phones.

Council took no action on the matter when Shields said the additional hours would make the employee full time, which includes benefits.

After further discussion, including a few audience comments, it was decided that the phone vendor, Telephonix, would be contacted to fix the communication problems.

“It's easily rectifiable,” council president Dan Lloyd said.

Bodnar swore in new Civil Service Commission alternate members Harold Woodburn and Raymond Kondas.

Council appointed Benefits Network Inc. as the borough's broker of record for health plan and negotiations by a 5-1 vote. Council vice president Harvey Inglis was absent. Councilman Rich Votedian dissented.

Council approved entering into an agreement with Optimus Risk Services for safety and health services in relation to workers compensation premium reduction and case management services. The agreement is effective on Oct. 1 at no cost for one year, then $795 per month effective Oct. 1, 2015.

It is an annual agreement. The vote was 5-1 with Votedian dissenting.

Council approved advertising for a public works supervisor position by a 5-1 vote with Votedian dissenting.

Votedian said prior to those motions that he did not feel comfortable with various agenda items, and wanted more discussion.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1965, or