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The Llano County Sheriff’s Office has three job openings for dispatchers as of Tuesday, May 2. The LCSO is struggling to retain telecommunicators due to higher hourly pay at neighboring agencies, leaving the remaining staff overworked and unable to use vacation time.

The starting pay for an LCSO telecommunicator is $16.11 per hour. The job comes with benefits, on-the-job training, and paid vacation time. The 911 emergency dispatchers are responsible for facilitating communications between the public and emergency services.

“(The lack of staff) means working extra shifts,” Dispatch Manager Donnie Whitecotton told “I can’t always approve leave requests either. It does make it hard on everybody.”

Whitecotton often covers shifts herself. She explained that the county has been down at least one dispatcher for the past nine months and the other two vacancies popped up in the past two weeks. Only seven of 10 positions are currently filled.

Whitecotton is conducting a salary survey of surrounding agencies to get an idea of where Llano County ranks on dispatcher pay. The LCSO pays less than the sheriff’s offices in Burnet, Blanco, and Gillespie counties as well as the Marble Falls Police Department, she said.

The Burnet County Sheriff’s Office was hiring dispatchers in February at $20.48 per hour, about 21 percent more than Llano County.

The Llano County Commissioners Court eased the burden on dispatchers in December 2022 by approving vacation time extensions and later offering overtime pay rather than compensatory time. Before the extension was approved, dispatchers were unable to use their built-up vacation time before county-imposed deadlines.

Whitecotton expressed her thanks for the commissioners’ support and said she hopes the coming 2023-24 county budget will allow for more competitive dispatcher pay.

To qualify for a dispatcher position, applicants must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED, a valid driver’s license, and no criminal record.

For more information on telecommunicator positions in Llano County, contact or 325-247-5767.