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KEYSER, W.Va. — The Mineral County Commission approved operational changes Tuesday that emergency services Director Luke McKenzie said will help prevent staffing shortages at the 911 center.

While it isn’t often that employees call out of work at the 911 center, McKenzie, who is also the county’s coordinator, said during a phone call with the commissioners, “when people are calling off, we’re really struggling to get coverage.”

As a solution, McKenzie asked for the board’s permission to place an off-duty employee on call every day. One person would be on call at a time, McKenzie said, and would be paid $25 a day for two days to remain on standby should they have to fill in for a coworker.

McKenzie said that keeping an otherwise unscheduled employee on call daily would cost about $10,000 annually, which the emergency division can accommodate with the current budget. The idea also has staff support, he said.

“Our people would like to see it because they know when they’re off, they can truly be off,” McKenzie said. “They won’t have to worry about being called in, unless they’re on call. Our people who work a lot really want to see this go into effect.”

The commissioners approved the change unanimously.

The commission’s next regular business meeting is scheduled for Oct. 26.

Lindsay Renner-Wood is a reporter for the Cumberland Times-News. Follow her on Twitter @LindsayRenWood, email lrenner-wood@times-news.com or call 304-639-4403.

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Lindsay Renner-Wood is a reporter for the Cumberland Times-News, covering West Virginia and more. Follow her on Twitter @LindsayRenWood, email lrenner-wood@times-news.com or call 304-639-4403.