The vacant positions at Dubbo Regional Council are in part due to trouble attracting skilled workers, says the Chief Executive Officer.
CEO Michael McMahon said in the past six months there had been at least 65 to 70 positions vacant at council.
The open positions currently at council include IT support officers, engineers, labourers and a coordinator at the animal shelter.
Mr McMahon said with a two per cent unemployment rate in Dubbo there was “probably more vacancies than people available to attract for those roles”.
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Higher-skilled technical people had been difficult to attract, he said.
“Traditionally in councils that have been through amalgamations there has been a small churn that has occurred both in relation to senior staff and other technical staff because a lot of people are usually concerned about coming into an amalgamated council that there might be additional workloads, there might be additional concerns about the changes that have happened to the structure,” the CEO said.
Mayor Ben Shields said the vacancies were not restricted to the Dubbo local government area.
“This number has been hovering around that figure from the very fist day I sat in this room. It’s not to do internally with Dubbo Regional Council, it’s a situation that’s affected the local government industry, full stop,” Cr Shields said.
Councillor John Ryan said before the amalgamation of the former Dubbo and Wellington councils he had spoken to staff who were fearful of their positions in the new structure. Some of those staff “jumped ship” to something more secure, he said.
He reiterated the need for skilled employees.
“You can’t just go out and grab someone and give them a week to train, that’s not how it works,” Cr Ryan said.
Mr McMahon said council was doing its best to fill the roles, including looking at changes in policies and procedures to attract more staff. He hoped the number of vacant positions wouldn’t be as high in the coming year.