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MOREHEAD CITY (WNCT) — The Carteret County Board of Commissioners recently approved a 12.5% pay increase for employees at the Emergency Communications Center.  

They hope this will help with the current staffing shortage they’re experiencing. They say they are currently short by about 8-10 positions.  

“We decided that a 12-and-a-half percent raise would work because it makes us competitive with the surrounding areas,” said Carteret County Emergency Services Director Stephen Rea. 

The increase was approved on November 15. It went into effect on November 20. The salary difference of 12.5% makes a significant difference in salaries, with some positions jumping from about $33,000 per year to about $37,000 per year. 

“We really need this to boost up our employment there in order to be able to answer 911 calls and be able to, for our Public Safety’s safety as well,” said Rea.  

Back in September, Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck went before the Carteret County Board of Commissioners asking for a similar pay raise for the employees at the sheriff’s office. His request was approved. 

“What the commissioners have done over the past couple months, with providing additional salaries to my office, and providing salary increases to those who are working in the communication center is really a big boost for what we’ve been able to do,” said Buck. 

Rea said that the 911 operator’s job is extremely crucial to the entire system. He said this will also help out the current employees because they will be able to take time when they need to as well as keeping morale up. 

“As far as an emergency system. They are first responders, so they are the ones that received the call to dispatch, any law enforcement, fire or EMS. It also gives safety to the citizens of Carteret County, and allows them to feel safe knowing that the 911 system is there,” said Rea. 

You can find out more information about the open positions here.