ADAMS — The town's longest tenured dispatcher is leaving, the town is hoping to replace his position with a full-time officer.
Anthony Piscioneri, who has been on the job for 19 years, is leaving for a new position in Pittsfield at the end of the month, so the town opted to replace him with a full-time patrolman. The move was approved unanimously by the Select Board on Wednesday.
"I know they have staffing issues with whether it be an untimely injury, and everybody takes vacations," said Select Board Chairman Jeffrey Snoonian. "Any time you can fill in a position that is not on the street with a position that has the potential to go on the street, I think that's a positive thing."
When the town decided to shift its 911 dispatch services to the Berkshire County Sheriff's Office last year, Mazzucco and Chief Richard Tarsa pledged to keep a full-time employee on during the day shift to man the desk — a role that Piscioneri filled.
"The day shift in particular gets very busy, there's many more walk-ins, there's a lot of administrative items, so we still want to keep that body there," Mazzucco said.
The new officer will not necessarily be placed on the daytime shift, Monday through Friday, but rather will be thrown into the regular rotation of patrolmen, with one always manning the station.
"If you bring in a replacement [for a dispatcher] in the form of an officer, it opens it up to many possibilities as far as responding and staffing, and so on," Tarsa said. "It's more versatile."
For example, Tarsa said, an officer who makes an arrest can type his report while manning the desk, and the officer who had been on the desk can go out on the street.
A full-time police officer makes about $10,000 more annually than a full-time dispatcher, but the gap could be even smaller if the town hires a new officer with less experience, according to Mazzucco.
The funding was already in the budget to account for the officer, Mazzucco said, but because it is technically a new position it required board approval.
When the shift was made to the Berkshire County Sheriff's dispatching services, town officials also said they'd look to add more reserve officers.
"That's been a struggle because of Civil Service," Tarsa said. "That process actually ties our hands in the hiring process because we have to go according to their guidelines of who is on the list, which makes it difficult."
Officials thanked Piscioneri for his years of service.
"I'm sorry that he's leaving; I wish that the could stay," Tarsa said. "However I can not fault anyone who wants to take a career change that may be a benefit to him."
Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.