Sebastian City Council approves new hiring incentives – Sebastian Daily

City of Sebastian

Sebastian City Council has unanimously approved hiring incentives and signing bonuses for new city employees amid a widespread issue that appears to be affecting many local municipalities and businesses.

Although there is a labor shortage, some employees leave to find work elsewhere that pays better. There have been discussions between the police union and the city, but nothing has been resolved.

City Manager Paul Carlisle told council on Wednesday that “everyone is struggling to hire staff.” He said other communities offered sign-up bonuses and hired people straight out of the police academy, even paying for the academy, to become police officers. Carlisle wants the city to become more competitive by recommending temporary hiring incentives and signing bonuses.

Recruitment has become more difficult since the pandemic for the city and most businesses. As a result, people have decided not to return to the workplace for whatever reason, and companies and municipalities must try to create incentives to attract applicants.

Interestingly, the city did a little research and found that some police departments offer a hiring incentive of $2,500 to $5,000, depending on the position. One agency offers two weeks pay, while others pay for police academy and certification. Agencies that pay for education and other things like certification get signed agreements that the employee must reimburse the agency on a prorated basis if they leave within 2-3 years.

Carlisle said the city could get the state signing bonuses based on the recently passed law and tuition fees for people to be certified. Although the bonuses do not include officers hired out of state, they would still be eligible for city funding.

Login bonuses and incentives

The city wants to pay a hiring bonus of $2,500 to $3,500 depending on experience for all full-time vacancies. Additionally, the city would reimburse police recruits for the police academy if they reside in Florida.

The city of Vero Beach pays a $3,000 recruiting bonus to police officers with at least three years of experience, plus a 6% pay raise after completing a one-year probationary period.

The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office pays $29,802 for a deputy-in-training, with pay increasing to $46,800 after graduation and passing the state exam. They are considering a login bonus.

The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office has a program similar to that of Indian River County. However, they offer a one-time hiring bonus of up to $5,000 to candidates with at least one year of full-time experience. In addition, 911 dispatchers receive a one-time sign-up incentive of $2,500.

Councilman Chris Nunn said he’s okay with incentives if that’s what it takes to get people to work for the city.

“I totally agree, I know we need officers, we need employees,” Councilman Chris Nunn said. “These other departments all have incentive programs.”

But Nunn also said all police officers should pass state certification and that should be part of the deal.

Vice Mayor Fred Jones, who served more than 30 years with the Florida Highway Patrol, said he favors sponsoring recruits for the police academy or other agencies will take them. He thinks it will bring in better workers than hiring agents that other agencies don’t want.

“I don’t want that either because I believe we deserve quality police candidates here in the city of Sebastian,” Jones said.

“When we sponsor them to go to the academy, we know we have qualified people and good people coming back to our city. So I’m definitely in favor of that,” Jones added.

Mayor Jim Hill is also supportive and said the recruitment is not just for police officers but for all workers recruited for the city of Sebastian. Hill said there were few staff in each department.

“Now you get a sign-on bonus to work at Dunkin’ Donuts. There are a lot of different tactics people use to bring people in. We’re not competitive right now,” Hill said.

The board unanimously approved the new hiring incentives.



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