City and county struggle to find employees

Unemployment levels in Utah are hovering around three percent, according to a May report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The resulting shortage of employees is making an impact on county and city recruitment efforts, as well as impacting special service districts.

The recycling center has recently cut back their hours, partly due to their inability to fill needed positions there and at landfills, according to Deborah Barton, manager of the Solid Waste Special Service District No. 1, which serves the Moab area.

Grand County is similarly struggling to fill lower wage positions in county government, with 12 opportunities listed as open on their website including jobs in the weed department, at Old Spanish Trail Arena and two positions in the sheriff’s office. Three of the jobs were posted in August of 2017 and remain unfilled.

In the weed department, both technicians have resigned, leaving the weed supervisor alone in his department. “This is what we have going on. Even by bringing the rates up, even by bringing the minimum wage up, this is what it is,” said County Administrator Ruth Dillon at a recent meeting of the Grand County Council.

John West, human resources director for Grand County said, “It’s just difficult when maids are making $20 an hour; it’s tough to compete with that,” he said. “It’s not just [the county], it’s all positions … county-wide.”

The City of Moab’s recruitment website lists 11 current employment opportunities, including assistant city planner, fleet mechanic and sewer service worker. Five of the jobs were posted more than a month ago, but according to Moab City Communications and Engagement Director Lisa Church, one opening for a police officer has recently closed and is now in the interviewing stage.

ByBy Rose Egelhoff

The Times-Independent