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Holladay Journal

Holladay City not immune to staffing shortage

Feb 22, 2022 08:55PM ● By Travis Barton

Now hiring signs can be found all over the country as various industries face a labor shortage. (Mimi Darley Dutton/City Journals)

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

Across the country, industries of all kinds are facing a labor shortage. From truck drivers in Oregon to recruits for the army, and Holladay is no different.

The Holladay City Council unanimously approved a resolution in February that will allow city officials to offer various incentives to both current and potential employees.

City administration can now offer hiring and retention bonuses along with acting pay (where an employee is essentially paid for fulfilling another role beyond their normal job).

New employees will be offered $1,000 signing bonus with an additional $1,000 bonus at their one-year mark.

Current employees receive a $1,000 retention bonus and an additional bonus six months later if still employed. The same goes for part-time employees with an adjusted percentage.

Seasonal employees for the parks department will receive a $500 hiring bonus with an additional bonus if they complete the season.

“We’re just wanting to be very, very aggressive in addressing these issues we’re having in the market right now,” Mayor Rob Dahle said during the Feb. 10 council meeting. “It’s everywhere, not just the private sector, it’s the public sector.”

Nearby cities are also dealing with the issue, City Manager Gina Chamness told the council in January. In mid-February almost 300 municipality positions were listed on the Utah League of Cities and Towns website.

Vacant positions for Holladay can be found in the community and economic development department as well as maintenance positions. In January, Chamness told the council that they’d had a planner technician position posted for three months and hadn’t received any serious applications for the senior planner position. In February, multiple candidates had applied for the planner technician, but still “no luck with the senior planner position, we’re going to have to get creative,” Chamness told the council in the Feb. 10 council meeting.  

The city uses a database to assess market conditions to ensure they are being competitive in what they offer.

It was also important, as Chamness noted in January, that the city keeps “the valuable staff we have.”

Dahle said this resolution hopefully sends a message to city employees.

“We should use every tool we have available to us to get and retain the people we have,” he said in January.

The city won’t have to pull money out of its regular budget for the bonuses either, the mayor said, since it’s already assigned to those positions.

“It’s just moving money from current wages into incentive programs,” he said.

In the city staff report, Chamness noted they set some parameters on the acting pay. That it is in “extraordinary circumstances, when 20% or more of staff positions are unfilled, the city manager is authorized to provide hiring and/or retention bonuses.”

The approved resolution is one piece in the city’s six-month budget process this year analyzing what Dahle described as his No. 1 priority: the staffing structure of the city, notably with the police department.

“This will help stabilize us where we are,” he said. “And allow us to look at a market review of our positions.”