GREENWOOD, Ind. — Greenwood City Council is fast tracking raises for several part-time and seasonal employees in an effort to fill dozens of city jobs.
The ordinance increasing wages was proposed, and unanimously passed, during Monday night’s council meeting.
A total of 33 positions across 14 different departments will see an increase ranging anywhere from $2 to $7 depending on the position.
“There’s been a staffing shortage across the board in the city and trying to get people to come in at the pay rate that we had was not working,” said Mike Campbell, president of Greenwood City Council. “So the only real solution is to increase that as much as we can.”
Campbell said typically it takes three separate meetings, each two weeks apart, to pass an ordinance like this, but the council voted to suspend the rules and pass the ordinance right away so that positions can get filled as soon as possible.
“Typically an ordinance is introduced on one night, and we get information and talk about it, but there’s no vote. Then at the next meeting, two weeks later, there’s a first reading and a vote. Then, two weeks after that, there’s a second reading and a vote,” said Campbell. “In certain circumstances we can vote to suspend the rules. We don’t often suspend the rules all the way through second reading but we did that night because of the pressure to get this going as quickly as we can.”
Campbell said many departments can’t wait four more weeks to get the help they need, so there was a sense of urgency to bump up incentives as quickly as possible.
“We’re extremely thankful to the council for not only considering [wage increases], but also doing the suspension of rules and getting it passed so quickly,” said Rob Taggart, director of Parks & Recreation for the city. “I think that goes to show the urgency in the matter – of the deficiency that we’re currently experiencing as far as the employment needs here in Greenwood.”
Taggart said his department is one of many in the city to have several open positions waiting to be filled. Right now, he said his crew consists of just 17 staff.
“Typically we’re looking at this time of year having anywhere from 25-30 seasonal people helping us out and getting us through the season,” said Taggart. “We’re looking for people for grounds maintenance work. So helping us maintain our parks, grass cutting, facility maintenance, restrooms and cleaning – just general property management and maintenance.”
Taggart said he has worked for the city for 13 years and has been in his current position for nearly a decade, but he said he’s never seen labor shortages this difficult to overcome.
“We don’t have enough bodies in seats of mowers and equipment maintaining the parks,” said Taggart. “It stresses the employees that we do have and it overwhelms them.”
“Just a few years ago, we were fully staffed and paying people $15 to $17 an hour and we thought we were doing great,” said Campbell. “Well now $15 an hour doesn’t get people in the door.”
Both Campbell and Taggart said the pay increases give them a fighting chance during a time when everyone is hiring.
“It’s just to help people get into the door so we can maintain and keep the level of service and standards that we’ve created here in Greenwood,” said Taggart. “Right now, we are maintaining all of those current level of standards but its taxing the current employees that we have so we certainly need to get the employees in here to relieve that and spread out the work that needs to be done.”
For a list of all the available positions in the city of Greenwood, or to apply, click here.