By Woodrow Polston
During the May meeting of the Board of Aldermen of the City of Vandalia, City Administrator Darren Berry discussed concerns about staffing issues that the city is currently experiencing.
“This past month has been a very busy and stressful month,” said Berry. “All the rainfall that we have been receiving has caused delays in getting projects started and completed. So, when there has been a break in the weather, it has been go-time for our crews. Not only have the crews been dealing with the weather, now staffing issues have become a major problem once again. We now have one full-time position open in the Street Department, three full-time positions in the Utility Department, and one part-time position open at City Hall. We are currently running ads in the newspaper and have the positions listed on our website and Facebook page,” he added.
On May 17, a “Vandalia Area Job Fair” was conducted at the Lange Building echoing the desperate needs of local under-staffed employers. The list of businesses represented at the job fair included the City of Vandalia, the Van-Far School District, Tri-County Care Center, United Credit Union, WERDCC, Harbison Walker, Carquest, Standard Wellness and many others. Berry expressed his concern for the city employees who must bear the weight of being under-staffed.
“As I know you are aware, being short staffed causes our other employees to pick up the shortfalls and causes extra work on their part,” said Berry. “I cannot express enough how much I appreciate all our employees. They never seem to amaze me with their hard work and dedication to our organization and they are always willing to go that extra mile. With that said, I’m starting to see the stress in a lot of our employees. The on-call situation is a very big issue with the Utility Department and this is the department we are shortest in.
“Also, when it is time to read meters, the remanding Utility Department employees, and some Street employees, go out to read the meters causing all other projects to be put on hold. These are just a couple of examples that we are facing.
“One thing that I am very proud of is that all our departments help each other out when it is needed. This is something that we have not always had. The city is not the only employer that is experiencing staffing issues. It seems to be a large-scale problem all over the country. As we move forward, I will be working with staff and the organization as a whole, to discuss new ideas on what we could try to do to get and keep employees. I am open to new and creative ideas that might be beneficial. I invite the council to share any of your thoughts and ideas on this issue,” added Berry.
During the Sheriff’s report, Matt Oller explained that the Audrain County Sheriff’s Department is also experiencing similar staffing issues.
Having no further business to discuss, at 5:25 p.m., Alderman Hopke made a motion to adjourn from regular session. Aldermen Turner seconded the motion,