Despite being able to fill most of the vacant city positions that were a result of a six-month hiring freeze last year, officials with the city of Burbank are still busy filling vacancies.
As of the end of July, the city has 229 vacant positions throughout its various departments, and most of those jobs became vacant after the freeze was lifted last November, said Betsy McClinton, management services director for Burbank, during a City Council meeting on Aug. 20.
Of the 229 positions, 196 became vacant after council members ended the hiring freeze, which started in May 2018.
The council opted to implement a hiring freeze as a way to address the city’s systemic budget deficit while avoiding permanent staffing cuts.
Although 156 positions were affected by the hiring freeze, all but 33 of those jobs were filled during the six months after the freeze was lifted, McClinton said.
She said the city prioritized filling the vacancies created by the hiring freeze first before addressing any new positions that opened up after the freeze ended.
That move resulted in a hiring delay for jobs that became vacant after November.
However, McClinton said that because most of the positions during the hiring freeze have been filled, the city is returning to its normal hiring process of filling open positions as they become available.
McClinton also updated the City Council about the police department’s efforts to fill its vacancies.
As of the end of July, the police department was facing 21 vacancies for sworn positions — 17 recruits or officers, three sergeants and one lieutenant.
The department was able to hire four officers and promoted a captain, a lieutenant and two sergeants, but retirements within the department added to the number of vacancies, McClinton said.
Burbank currently has 141 sworn police officers, but the department is authorized to staff 160 officers.
In addition to the vacant sworn positions, McClinton said the police department has 36 non-sworn jobs available, which range from animal control to crossing guards.