Mississippi city struggles to find workers

Published 6:15 am Sunday, May 8, 2022

The City of Greenwood is in the midst of an “unprecedented”labor shortage, Mayor Carolyn McAdams said.

“We can’t get people to stay working,”she said. “We’ll hire somebody, and they’ll work for a few days and just walk off the job.”

The last year has been especially difficult. She said the public works, police and fire departments have been affected the most, The Greenwood Commonwealth reported.

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Susan Bailey, director of public works, said she is looking for four laborers, one garbage truck driver and one trash truck driver. The five trash routes, which focus on picking up yard debris like tree limbs and bagged leaves, can take up to a week to finish because of the shortage, she said.

Regarding the police shortage, McAdams said the department has never experienced such a lack of available officers.The fire department is facing similar difficulties.

“We’re doing everything in our power to recruit,”she said. “We changed up our budget so that we can hire at a different level of pay and also be able to give pretty good raises yearly. It’s still not capturing these people enough to come back to work.”

She said operations at police and fire aren’t being affected, but current employees have had to extend themselves. Police Chief Terrence Craft has begun using higher-ranked officers for patrols, she said.

Fire Chief Marcus Banks said current staffing shortages haven’t yet affected operations because some people are working overtime and command staff are being used for on-the-ground work.

McAdams said the city is advertising for summer work programs, such as the urban youth program, which are six-week commitments open to applicants at least 16 years of age.