Struggle continues for some gov’t entities to fill positions

Virtually every area of state government is facing a hiring crisis due to low salaries.

TALLAHASSEE – Virtually every area of state government is facing a hiring crisis due to low salaries.

A chart, presented to lawmakers, shows that there are 10,000 fewer people working for the state than prior to the pandemic. Nearly one in five authorized positions is vacant.

The burden has been particularly hard on agencies, like Arc of Florida, which serve the most vulnerable.

“Its really horrible right now. We need 174 DSPs to operate safely, and we are 66 short,” said Mark Swain, Arc Board chair.

Pre-pandemic, an average of 44 people applied for job postings. As of publication of this article, it was just over 11.

The Department of Juvenile Justice is also having retention problems.

Lawmakers have been told that they’re going to have an extra $4 billion to spend over the next two years. But House Democrats say starving government has been the Republicans’ way since Jeb Bush.

“He said he wanted to see state government buildings empty, and this is a continued drive towards that,” said Rep. Evan Jenne, D-Broward.

But for ARC, understaffing is not a viable option and care is suffering.

“The people who are most vulnerable are really losing out here because the providers just don’t have the staff to take these people in,” Swain said.

Statistics show overtime has nearly tripled from $58 million to $152 million in 2021.


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