by KATHRYN DENTATO
Hernando Sun Writer
DEC. 3, 2018 BROOKSVILLE CITY COUNCIL MEETING- During the Nov. 19, 2018 meeting, the City Council tabled the discussion on the People Ready contract, postponing it to Dec. 3, 2018. Department of Public Works Director Richard Radacky briefed the council on the use of the staffing agency to fill temporary vacancies in the event of an employee illness or injury, to cover scheduled leave time, or when there is an unfilled position.
Radacky stated there are two positions that are regularly needed. He said the department has extreme difficulty hiring a person who stands on the back of the garbage truck and lifts the cans into the truck, so they use a staffing service for this position daily.
The second position is someone to work with water lines and wastewater systems, he said, but that is not a daily staffing issue. Over the summer, Radacky stated that he needed to fill six positions due to open positions or injuries. Currently, the department has less demand for temporary staff.
Radacky asked the council to approve the contract, which will cost $18,000 in the sanitation department, and $9,000 in the utility department.
Brayton asked Radacky for the number of hours DPW uses for the sanitation worker, which is a full 40-hour week. At $13.39/hour, Brayton stated that equates to $28,000/year, far more than the contract states. Even using the amount designated for the utility department would not be enough, he said.
Kutney and Radacky clarified that these are supplemental workers, not full-time employees. His department does recruit for the position, and sometimes they do hire. Once they have been in the position for a while, they are often promoted or transfer to another department.
The sanitation trucks require two workers: one to drive, one to ride on the back. Without that second person, Radacky said, the truck is out of service.
Kemerer approached the budget issue from another angle. DPW can internally staff the sanitation trucks 35% of the time, while the remaining 65% much come from contract labor. Radacky agreed that this was correct.
Bernardini asked why the discussion was tabled during the Nov. 19 meeting. It was to determine if the contract should be bid out or if it was piggybacked onto another contract. Radacky stated that it was not part of a piggybacked contract.
Because there are two companies in Brooksville that provide temporary staffing, Radacky said they could put it out for bid, but did not see there would be a significant difference because of the hourly rate for the refuse collector position. Filling a vacancy is time sensitive so that the trucks can stay on schedule.
Kemerer asked for advice from the city attorney. She stated that since the contract exceeds $2,000 DPW is required to put the contract out for bid. There is no current contract with People Ready, Radacky said. They use them as needed, on a non-contractual basis.
Erhard recommended that they put the contract out for bid. Brayton remarked that it should have been done already. DPW has been working with the other staffing agency so long, Radacky said, that he is not aware if there is a contract with them. Since People Ready is a newer firm DPW took the time to work out contract details with them so that the language complies with the State of California’s requirements as well as Florida’s.
Kutney suggested tabling the item again to give time for him to talk with Radacky, finalize figures, and determine if they will ask to put the contract out for bid. Brayton made a motion to table the item until the council receives the additional information. Erhard seconded the motion, and it passed 5-0.
After reviewing the hourly rate of $13.39 which is paid to the staffing agency, who likely pays the employee less, Bernardini asked why they couldn’t just hire a full-time employee at around $12/hour. Brayton said using an agency is more cost effective when looking at the benefits and taxes the city would be responsible for.
“Obviously we can’t keep anybody on the job, so there’s got to be a reason for that, other than the job,” Bernardini said.
Kutney responded with the minimum required salary for that position is $10.36/hour, and that may account for part of the hiring challenges DPW faces. He has authorized a higher wage when the department did receive an application. Kutney agreed to bring the council a more complete picture of what it would cost to hire a full-time employee, including salary and benefits.
Kemerer stated that if the person is not hired as a full-time employee, then using a staffing agency does represent a savings. Hiring a full-time employee includes approximately 50% more in additional benefits that come with being a government/city employee (such as vacation time accrual, 12 paid holidays, Florida Retirement System, etc.).
Current interim staffing needs are being met by another agency. Kutney was given authorization to continue the current practice of using the agency on a day-to-day basis until a company is awarded a bid. There was no vote, only a consensus by the council.