‘We need her around’: Dispatchers support decision to allow emergency communications official to work remotely from Florida

Target 3

MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA)– Coles County dispatchers signed a letter in response to an ongoing debate over the county 911 director’s decision to allow his assistant director to work remotely from Florida.

Throughout the week, we’ve unfolded the story of 911 Director James Calvert signing the contract with assisstant director, Amanda Williamson.

That sparked some controversy. A super-majority of the Coles-Moultrie County Emergency Telephone System Board, which appoints the 911 director, were unhappy with the decision. They confronted Calvert at a special meeting of the board on Wednesday.

Friday, 911 dispatchers reached out to Target 3 investigators. They said they have no problem with Williamson working from Florida. Gracie Finley, one of the dispatchers, wrote a letter addressed to the ETSB.

Finley said Williamson’s 19+ years of experience make her essential.

“Simply, we need her around,” Finley added. “Whether it’s remotely or not, you know, there are always ways that we can communicate with her, and her being around will make things smoother, simple as that.”

Finley said Williamson worked remotely from her home in Central Illinois throughout much of the pandemic, even when she was on call. Finley said that did not affect the operation at the Coles County 911 Center.

Five dispatchers signed the letter outlining why they say they fully support the director’s decision. They plan to present it to the ETSB at the next regularly scheduled in September.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.