The Jersey City Council narrowly voted in favor of a 911 dispatch study by a private company at the tail end of last night’s six-hour meeting.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The third time was the charm for a $213,085.11 contract for “IXP Corporation completion of initial workshops, technology assessment and gap analysis, and desires to purchase these services from SHI International Corp.,” the resolution says.
The governing body voted down the agreement in 2-6 back in November, with Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey and Councilwoman-at-Large Amy DeGise voting yes – Councilman-at-Large Daniel Rivera was absent.
The measure was reintroduced last month in light of renewed concerns about 911 calls not being answered, though it ended up being withdrawn by the administration after dozens of dispatchers spoke against it, citing concerns that this would be the first step towards privatization.
“On this 10.44, I just want to let them know, over the last few years, no one has been hired in the radio room. They purposely let the radio room fall apart and it’s a shame,” began Ward C Councilman Rich Boggiano, a retired police detective.
“And the supervision, the people in charge, the director, the assistant director that we have should’ve done something about it three years ago, four years ago but they let it deteriorate. Spending money on IXP is absolutely a waste of money.”
Ward D Councilman Yousef Saleh said he would support the study, but was clear that he did not support privatization, either.
“I don’t approve of privatization, we’re not there yet. I also don’t like how IXP made fun of Jersey City when we had the incident with Taqueria. I look forward to reading their report and seeing what happens.”
Ward E Councilman James Solomon voted no, stating that “there needs to be some distance” between who is doing the study and who the provider is, and Ward F Councilman Frank “Educational” Gilmore subsequently also voted against the measure.
Finally, Council President Joyce Watterman said she was going to vote for the study since, through her own research, she’s heard that “favoritism” and “things that’s going on that’s just not right” are common at the dispatch center and need to be fixed.
“I believe we have to be fair. Now if we hire this company, they still have to come back to the council for any approvals or adjustment. But there are people over there, and I’ve found out, who have not gotten a raise in 30 years. But then yet, there’s other people who have,” she stated.
“Something is wrong. I don’t care. Something is wrong. Now, if I had my way, I would get rid of management – but it’s not my way – because I think management have failed. Certain things should’ve been done and that’s just the truth. So the reason I’m voting yes is to see if somebody else can come in and look at it, and if they don’t do what they’re supposed to do, then we have to go back to square one and see if we can get a new management team in there to really move that department forward.”
The local legislation was ultimately approved 5-3, with Boggiano, Solomon, and Gilmore voting no. Rivera was absent.
At the unveiling of the new Public Safety Headquarters on Tuesday, about two hours after Mayor Steven Fulop announced he was running for governor in 2025, he said that the council would be voting on the private study again and was hopeful it would pass.
“There’s no question there’s been issues around the 911 system. We recognize it needs to be fixed. There’s tens of thousands of calls that come into that system. 99.999 percent of them get answered promptly. It’s unacceptable to have any of them that aren’t answered promptly. That’s why we take it very, very seriously,” Fulop stated at the time.
“That proposal for studying it will be back in front of the city council again. As long as the city council has questions around it, we will answer them. This is just a study with recommendations. The hope is it passes at the next council meeting.”