Despite the recent salary increase, the county still struggles to fill vacant positions
County administrators are warning supervisors of difficult times ahead for job funding.
Historically, San Benito County struggled to hire and retain qualified employees. As of September 30, of the 591 positions funded in the budget, the county had 112 vacant positions.
“This is one of the main reasons the county has been hampered in some way trying to do things and projects with some of the funding we have,” said Gabriel Orozco, county budget analyst. de San Benito, in its first quarter budget update.
According to Orozco’s presentation, here are the vacancies among the funded positions by category:
- General — 25 of 263
- Routes — 14 of 24
- Health and Social Services Agency — 38 out of 195
- Behavioral health — 256 of 79
- Child support — 3 of 13
- Everyone else — 7 of 18
Among the highest vacancy rates is the road department with 58% while the other departments vary from 9% to 38%. Overall, the department has a vacancy rate of 19%.
Orozco said the county is analyzing how best to use the funding set aside for vacant positions to complete more projects. According to the county budget, supervisors budgeted $ 40 million for regular salaries (excluding benefits) for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.
County administrative officer Ray Espinosa said vacancies fluctuate daily and the roads department has seven vacancies as of October 12, not the 14 presented by Orozco. Due to the fluctuation, he said the county gives the departments flexibility to hire.
He added that the budget represents a 20% vacancy rate and that many of the funded posts need to be reduced to have a more balanced approach. In doing so, Espinosa warned that the county will likely experience growing difficulties in the years to come, as it will no longer fund certain positions until it finds new ongoing funding, such as future income from business development. .
“We’re probably going to go through pain and suffering for a year or two,” Espinosa said. “But then, once we get the problem under control, we can really see where our budget is, where are we at? “
He added that San Benito County’s revenues, with property taxes being the main source, make it difficult to offer wages comparable to surrounding jurisdictions. According to Orozco’s presentation, the county expects nearly $ 19 million in property tax revenue, followed by sales tax revenue of $ 6.6 million.
In order to combat employee retention, the county conducted a compensation study that was used to increase wages which were 10% or more below the median market wage. The new salaries went into effect on September 19.
Supervisors also gave each other a salary increase from $ 45,000 to $ 83,000 in June. Their new salary went into effect on August 7, 60 days after the board passed the increase.
Supervisors asked staff to list vacancies for further discussion.
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