Cleveland City Council Presses Frank Jackson Administration On Pace Of Hiring

A year after Cleveland voters approved an income tax increase meant, in part, to hire more city workers, city councilmembers are concerned about money going unspent. The slow hiring has led to tens of millions of dollars in budget surpluses.

During Monday’s Finance Committee meeting, Councilman Mike Polensek read the list of extra money Mayor Frank Jackson’s administration is asking to move around in the budget:

“We all know the issues with public health, they’ve been well-publicized – vacancies. Air quality – vacancies. Division of police – 8 million dollars due to vacancies," said Polensek.

The administration is seeking to move $31 million in unspent money, much of it from unfilled positions, from city department budgets back into the general fund. The plan in the spring, when the current budget came to council, was to hire 350 employees.

The city’s finance director, Sharon Dumas, acknowledged that they are far behind on those goals.

“We have the same level of concern that members of council do and it is something that we are going to focus in, that we intend to focus in on," said Dumas.

Dumas said keeping up with the rate of employees leaving their jobs, along with union requirements and recruiting qualified applicants have all been obstacles.

They are considering hiring outside help to speed up hiring.

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