City of Wilmington considers pay incentives to fill job openings

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — If you’re looking for work, you could get an extra $1,000 to apply to the City of Wilmington.

Tuesday, Wilmington City Council will vote on a new payment incentive program to fill city openings with in departments like the Wilmington Police Department, Recycling and Trash Services, and other essential employers.

Half of the $1,000 incentive would be paid to new employees 30 days into the job, the other half after 90 days of employment. The program would be paid for using national funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Corporal Ronald Evans with the Wilmington Police believes it could help fill their almost 30 job openings.

“It’s a little bit more than usual, but we’ve seen this all before,” said Evans. “Law enforcement tends to have numbers that fluctuate and go down. It’s almost like a roller coaster from time to time, year to year depending on what’s going on.”

According to Wilmington’s Deputy City Manager, Al Ragland and Evans, a few key factors have made it difficult to fill the front line positions.

“The pandemic,” Evans explained. “You know, the face of law enforcement has changed tremendously over the past five to 10 years. Everything from the George Floyd incident to the defunding of police incident that’s going on.”

“We’re seeing some retirements,” said Ragland. “Some people are just exiting that line of work just because it’s gotten so… I don’t want to say complicated, but it’s gotten much more intense.”

In Monday’s Council agenda briefing, Wilmington city leaders also discussed a new premium payment program, which would give a bonus to city employees who put their health on the line to keep the community safe.

Essential workers who worked with the public daily, like police officers, firefighters, and other public service workers could get $2,800 each. Essential workers who couldn’t work from home but could limit public contact, like city engineers, could receive $1,400 each.

According to Evans, the new hires and pay could take stress off existing officers, boost morale, and add more talent to the fold.

“No officer becomes an officer to get rich. That being said, they still have families to take care of. They still have themselves to take care of. And more money would assist in that tremendously.”

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