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Herald-Mail: Comptroller's Hagerstown call center to open in January and will employ 12

ANNAPOLIS — The new customer call center that Comptroller Peter Franchot promised earlier this summer for downtown Hagerstown will employ 12 full-time workers and open in early January — just in time for the 2018 tax season.

The Maryland Board of Public Works on Wednesday unanimously approved a 10-year lease for the new center in Franklin Plaza at 33 W. Franklin St.

Franchot said Wednesday that he sees "potential growth" in the number of workers at the center. His office fields 750,000 calls from taxpayers all over the state each year, he said. To improve service, his office has already opened a call center in Salisbury to help field the calls.

Franchot said the Hagerstown center will complement the one in Salisbury, which he said took more than 100,000 calls "in a couple of months."

"We have an ever-increasing number of calls … I can pretty much guarantee there will not be a drop in the number of calls," he said. He reiterated that his goal is to have callers talking with a live person within one minute.

"The model's there," Franchot said. "It proves that it works."

He added that putting the center downtown "is important to us."

According to Wednesday's Public Works agenda, the average rent for the center will be $39,486.33 per year.

Workers will be trained this fall; interested individuals may apply at jobaps.com/MD/.

"We need friendly, professional people," Franchot said. "Ideally every person would come from Hagerstown. We're a good agency to work for. We need hard workers. If you're underemployed or between jobs, give us a look."

He said part-time workers might be added during tax season.

He did caution that workers would sometimes encounter angry callers.

"I hope we're adult enough to realize that's not the whole person; they're frustrated" when they call about tax issues, he said.

The call center will be strictly for calls, and not open to the public. But the local branch office, which recently moved to 1850 Dual Highway, is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

http://www.heraldmailmedia.com/news/local/comptroller-s-hagerstown-call-center-to-open-in-january-and/article_886ef56a-7f19-5d9c-bf26-c760e0990978.html

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