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Worker shortage could impact Oshkosh city services

Oshkosh residents may see some services delayed or cut
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 9:01 PM CDT
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - Most of us have seen first hand the worker shortage that many businesses in the service industry are facing, but now some cities and municipalities are warning residents about a similar dilemma.

In Oshkosh some services are already facing delays or even cuts, and it’s likely just the beginning.

Whether it’s a summer job or full time employment, the city of Oshkosh is doing everything possible to recruit new workers especially with ads on social media.

The issue even sparked concern during a recent city council meeting.

“We have about 550 full time employees plus or minus. We are down 31 employees right now. That is over five percent of our workforce. We have a vacancy rate that high,” said Oshkosh City Manager Mark Rohloff.

Rohloff even gave specific examples, highlighting the forestry department, which right now is dealing with a major backlog of service requests.

“That whole staff is seven people. We are down three. That’s nearly fifty percent of our tree folks are out. What’s that means, we have this little old problem called Emerald ash borer and our folks are cutting down trees as fast as they can,” added Rohloff.

It’s not just Oshkosh, Appleton recently put out a promotional video hoping to attract new hires.

The city has 35 open positions being advertised right now.

A person appearing in that video said, ”The year that I’ve been employed by the city of Appleton I feel that I’ve been accepted by the people and the community as a whole.”

In Green Bay the city has 40 jobs listed on its website that remain open from public works, to fire and police.

Oshkosh officials say its also having an impact on their budget.

“We’re going to be way under budget, but that’s because we can’t find people to fill the positions but the demands are still there,” Rohloff said.

Another problem is having to compete with the private sector where wages have gone up fast making the competition for workers willing to take a government job even more intense.

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