Dispatcher feels slighted over chance to work full time

Published 5:52 pm Friday, March 4, 2022

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GATESVILLE – Lauren Lassiter fully understands that a person is only as good as their name.

And right now, she alleges her name isn’t held in high regard in Gates County and that is a tough pill for her to swallow.

Lassiter, a former member of the Gates County Sheriff’s Office who is now a part-time 911 dispatcher with the county, said she has been repeatedly passed over for a full-time position.

“I’ve been told that I didn’t get the job because I spread hate, discontent, and caused bad morale,” Lassiter told the Gates County Index in a telephone interview. “That’s what is being said about me. I’m not that kind of person. I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve sacrificed time that I could have spent with my family to cover [dispatching] shifts.”

Lassiter, who has worked for Gates County for four years, said since becoming a dispatcher she has applied three times for full-time status.

“I have been overlooked every time for a full-time position, and I am fully certified to do the job,” she said. “I submitted a letter of intent, resume, and received no response to any of it. It’s been two months since I gave the county office my latest letter. Now the county has hired more full-time dispatchers, with only three certified, but they will not consider me.”

Lassiter said she has called Gates County Manager Tim Wilson several times to inquire about the opportunity to move to full-time status.

“He will not return my calls,” she claimed.

Additionally, Lassiter said her monthly paycheck was shorted 37.7 hours and she wasn’t paid mileage when the Gates County dispatchers had to travel to Hertford to work out of the Perquimans County 911 Center after the Gates County system experienced equipment malfunction and a shortage of staff in December of last year. County officials announced on Feb. 16 that their 911 system would be operational in Gatesville on Feb. 17 with a full staff (seven full-time and eight part-time dispatchers).

“There were some dispatchers who got [mileage] checks from $75 up to $700 but I received nothing,” Lassiter said. “Nobody can give me an explanation as to why I wasn’t reimbursed for mileage, even though the Emergency Management Director and the County Manager himself stated that the dispatchers would receive these checks. It’s been almost a month and nobody has contacted me or tried to help me.”

When asked to explain how the travel reimbursement worked, Lassiter said it was “very confusing.”

“There’s no rhyme or reason to how it works; it appears to me it works one way for some dispatchers and another way for others,” she alleged. “For me personally, it appears they thought I used one certain route to travel to Hertford, but I actually used another.”

She added that the county needs to practice what they preach as an “Equal Opportunity Employer.”

“This is not how you treat employees, especially when they have worked above and beyond the call of duty,” Lassiter stressed.

“I am seeking litigation at this point because no one will give me a reason why I am being treated this way. If they will settle up for what they owe me, I’m out of there,” Lassiter concluded.


About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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