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June 19, 2013

Delp resigns to take position at regional dispatch center

WEST NEWBURY — Less than a week after she received a statewide award for excellence in telecommunication, lead dispatcher Lee Delp has resigned her post to work at the Essex Regional Emergency Communication Center in Middleton.

In a letter addressed to police Chief Lisa Holmes dated June 12, Delp resigned her full-time position, effective June 20. But she asked to be appointed as a part-time dispatcher in West Newbury to “help out when available.”

Delp was named the Jeff Grossman Telecommunicator of the Year at a ceremony on June 13.

However, at a meeting on Monday, selectmen removed her name entirely from a list of reappointments for both full and part-time dispatchers. Prior to the vote, Selectman Glenn Kemper emphasized to his colleagues that doing so would prohibit Delp from working as a town dispatcher in any capacity effective immediately. Ultimately, the board appeared comfortable with its action — the vote was unanimous.

Delp indicated that she’d also like to continue serving as West Newbury’s Emergency Management director, but apparently selectmen have other plans for that position as well. They will ask former EMA director Scott Berkenbush if he would be willing to return, or at least serve in an interim capacity until a new person is hired.

Because of the nature of her new position, selectmen doubted whether Delp would be available to lead West Newbury in the event that an emergency that impacted the region hit locally. “If there’s a real emergency where we’d need her, I would assume she would have to be (in Middleton),” Kemper said.

When reached in Florida where she is teaching a class, the 15-year veteran dispatcher seemed surprised to learn of the selectmen’s votes and the apparent miscommunication about her desire to continue playing a role in West Newbury’s Public Safety Department.

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