Earlier this week, Mejia’s office issued a news release that described city services as suffering from “chronic and rampant staffing vacancies.”
The Controller’s office looked at pay data from the 2022-23 budget and found that 17% of positions were unfilled.
Among those city departments hardest hit by vacancies are the airport system, building and safety, housing, planning, public works, recreation and parks, and the water and power departments.
No department saw a worse vacancy rate than the Economic and Workforce Development department, which had nearly 60% jobs unfilled.
Finance, general services and information technology (IT), all had vacancy rates worse than the city average. And the personnel department, which is tasked with addressing the issue itself, had a vacancy rate of nearly 15%.
Diana Chang, the controller’s office director of communications, said attracting new talent is a national challenge, but there are things Los Angeles can and must do to avoid a significant impact on the quality of life of Angelenos.
The Controller’s Office provided the following list of suggestions and recommendations to address staffing shortages at the city.
- Undertake the long-term reform of the Civil Service system which will require constructive dialogue with the City’s labor partners and an eventual vote of the people to amend the City Charter.
- Convene a shorter-term task force of city leaders and unions to seek additional creative ways to work within the existing Charter constraints to treat the challenge for what it is: a growing crisis that affects every Angeleno’s safety and well-being.
- Build on the success of the Targeted Local Hire and Bridge to Jobs programs to expand the effort to provide a pipeline for local residents to seek and attain rewarding careers in public service.
- Invest in the Personnel Department’s staffing, training and technology to augment their capacity to not just fill jobs, but attract and retain the talent needed to serve a 21st Century metropolis.
- Streamline City bureaucracy, reform outmoded service models and embrace innovation to raise productivity and improve services to the community
- Partner with the community, civic institutions, the private sector, nonprofits, and others to more closely collaborate on creative approaches to problem-solving while the City works to rebuild our workforce.
- Pursue long-term strategic budget and capital planning that goes beyond a year-to-year time horizon and balances the City’s changing and growing needs with the public staffing, funding and capital investment available to address those needs.
“The issues that frustrate Angelenos can’t be wished away,” Chang said. “The aspirations for a safer, cleaner, greener and more equitably prosperous city can’t be supported by a chronically understaffed City workforce. There is much work to be done. It is vital that we work on ensuring there are enough committed public service workers to do it.”
Mejia’s office released an interactive chart that shows vacancy counts by every city department and bureau, as well as the raw data from the analysis. It can be found here.
Click here to visit the City of Los Angeles Personnel Department.