Kevin Costner never said, “If you pay them, they will come,” however, that may very well be something said by Guilford County officials who’ve been determined to address the problem of a mass of vacancies across county departments.
In the past year, the county has given employees nice raises, many new benefits and promised more of the same down the line.
Everyone knows it’s hard to find good help these days no matter what business you’re in, but Guilford County Manager Mike Halford’s Pay To Play scheme has drawn a lot of new players to Guilford County government. In fact, since July of last year, the number of vacancies in the county’s government has fallen from 442 to 288 – a 35 percent reduction in nine months.
There’s been a lot of publicity about the county’s vacancies when it comes to jail guards – however, the number of vacancies in jail positions has fallen from 72 in July of 2022 to 59 as of March 1, 2023.
In that same time span, the number of nurse vacancies fell from 46 to 36 and the number of paramedic position vacancies dropped from 31 to 4.
In the Division of Social Services, Guilford County had 27 social worker vacancies last July; now there are only 10.
Last summer, the county was looking to fill six emergency medical technician positions. Now everyone of those positions is filled.
Guilford County commissioners always have a large number of security officers protecting them at their Thursday night meetings. They can do that because they have plenty of security officers to choose from. That department had four vacancies in mid-2022 and now only has one.
Another department that got some additional help in recent months is the Planning Department, which had eight building inspector vacancies last year and now only has two.