City Committee Talks Staffing Troubles

A picture of Dallas City Hall. | Image by Jonathan Richie/The Dallas Express

The Workforce, Education, and Equity Committee gathered in Dallas City Hall on Monday to hear briefings from City staff about ongoing talent acquisition problems and current vacancies.

Council Member Jaynie Schultz (District 11) chaired the committee and explained, “I asked for this presentation because we hear so often about the difficulties with recruitment.”

“We want to make Dallas the best place to work in Texas,” she continued.

The other members of the committee include Casey Thomas II (District 3), Paula Blackmon (District 9), Adam McGough (District 10), Jessie Moreno (District 2), Omar Narvaez (District 6), and Jaime Resendez (District 5).

The presentation showed that the departments with the most vacancies were Dallas Park & Recreation (904 openings, 58% vacant), Dallas Police Department (856 openings, 19% vacant), Dallas Fire Department (581 openings, 22% vacant), and Dallas Water Utilities (409 openings, 22% vacant).

The areas within the city with the highest turnover rate in 2022 included the Office of Police Oversight (68.6%), human resources (63.6%), Dallas Park & Recreation (60.7%), and the Office of Historic Preservation (58.2%). It was noted, though, that department size might “significantly affect” the turnover rate.

Although the Dallas Police Department has a large number of openings, the turnover rate for 2022 was one of the lowest out of the City’s departments at 8.6%.

Across the City government, the turnover rate was 13.59%. Exit interviews identified that the leading reasons people left City employment were salary, flexibility, and balanced culture. Repeated mention was made throughout the briefing of raising salaries to improve recruitment and retention efforts.

However, bills proposed in the Texas Legislature might affect such efforts by capping municipal salaries at the governor’s salary of $153,750, as reported by The Dallas Express. Currently, several Dallas bureaucrats earn more than the governor, with one employee — City Manager T.C. Broadnax — making more than the nation’s president.

Over the course of 2022, 2,284 positions were filled, including 190 in the police department and 150 in the fire department.

When discussing things staff had done in 2022 to improve “recruitment and retention,” Human Resources Director Nina Arias told council members, “I would like to highlight our gender transitioning information tool kit.”

The presentation noted that the toolkit was “created to assist gender diverse employees and all who support them and work with them at the City.”

In 2017, during Mayor Mike Rawlings’ administration, Dallas added sex alteration surgeries to its health insurance programs, allowing up to $75,000 per person. How much of this total would be funded by taxpayers was not immediately clear.

Regarding hiring efforts, Jarred Davis, the Civil Service Department’s secretary and director, noted that “the talent pool is drying and so we have to expand our reach.”

He suggested that, in addition to using strategic marketing to target new candidate pools, the City should “refine talent sourcing strategies,” cultivate “key community and educational partnerships,” and “incorporate deliberate equity planning.”

Chair Schultz also encouraged recruitment efforts to partner with the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) and local colleges to raise awareness that the City is an employer.

The discussion will continue in future committee meetings as City staff prepare additional briefings for the Workforce, Education, and Equity Committee, as well as the full council.

The committee was also briefed on financial empowerment programs and received memos about small business workforce development and “green jobs” training initiatives.

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1 Comment

  1. ThisGuyisTom

    Times have sure changed with the Human Resources approach on gender and inclusive issues. I never would had thought that I would see the day.

    Blackrock Wall Street investment strategist, Edward Dowd, has some interesting documentation and statistics from insurance companies covering only working age adults. His documentation explains a lot about working-age labor shortages. He also has a book out.



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