Local News

Sep 11, 2013 6:27 PM by Caroline Flores - cflores@kristv.com

City Worker Shortage

CORPUS CHRISTI - The City of Corpus Christi doesn't have enough workers in the street maintenance department and the city says the Eagle Ford Shale is to blame.

The city says they need 30% more workers to have a fully staffed street maintenance department. Because of the shortage, the city is having trouble keeping up with all the street maintenance projects around town. The issue is getting people to apply for the city instead of heading over to work on the Eagle Ford Shale so city officials have just implemented a new plan they hope will recruit more workers.

The city says the main reason workers choose to work in the oil fields over the city is because of the money.

"Advertising you know $5,000 hiring bonuses. You know, and the city will never be to the point where they can do that," said Human Resources Director Yasmine Chapman.

Here's the problem. Street maintenance workers who were hired at a low pay grade in the past six years have never been given the chance to get a raise until now. Starting Friday, the city is implementing a new program that will allow those workers to be eligible for raises. Based on a merit system every year for up to 20 years street maintenance workers will get the opportunity to get a 2.5% pay increase.

The city says in the past year and a half they've been about 27 workers short in their street maintenance department. When it comes to competing with Eagle Ford Shale, while they can't compete with the money aspect, they are trying other avenues.

"You're going out in the oil fields and you can be out there weeks on end without being able to see your family. At a point, you know, there's a point where the money factor isn't always the only factor that individuals look at," Chapman.

So, the city is hoping workers will consider jobs closer to home and its new pay program before heading to the oil fields.

I am told that this new pay program for the street maintenance workers was already budgeted so it won't cost tax payers any more money.

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