County board approves new 5-year deal for 911 director

DeJung has been under fire recently for center performance
County board approves new 5-year deal for 911 director
John Dejung, Dane County Public Safety Communications director

Dane County 911 Center director John Dejung has a new five-year contract, and at least one county board member said he’s “thrilled” Dejung has a new deal.

Dejung received the contract by unanimous vote at the Dane County Board meeting Thursday, despite concerns by some law enforcement about slow response times at the center uncovered by a WISC-TV investigation.

No board members publicly commented at the meeting when they approved the deal Thursday.

However, District 22 supervisor Dennis O’Loughlin said he still has confident in Dejung’s ability to lead the 911 Center.

“He came here when we had issues with the Center and the Center board five years ago,” said O’Loughlin. “So, the train was coming off the tracks then. Now I can see daylight down the road, and I’m happy he’s there to lead us through it.”

Dejung was hired in 2009 after a long career as the 911 director in Minneapolis.

The former Coast Guard officer was hired then to fix Dane County’s troubled 911 Center.

This year, law enforcement has criticized Dejung for the center’s poor performance answering emergency calls and dispatching crews to scenes not quick enough.

A WISC-TV investigation recently uncovered more than 5,000 times last year it took Dane County operators longer than 40 seconds to answer 911 calls.

The 911 Center Board wanted to delay Thursday’s vote on Dejung’s contract until it completed its own yearly performance review.

Dejung’s last review was in 2010 and the center board said it had simply been overlooked.

But O’Loughlin said the board should have delayed Thursday’s vote, because that review should have happened much sooner.

“They didn’t do their job, let’s face it,” said O’Laughlin. “And now they say they want to review it, No, it’s five years. They haven’t done it, move on.”

The 911 Center Board plans to still meet next month to pursue Dejung’s performance review.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi also supports Dejung, but he has released six recommendations to try to improve call times.

Dejung will make nearly $143,000 a year under the new deal, more than $20,000 than he was making when he was first hired.