Does the City of Sioux Falls really have a full-time employment shortage?

When you factor in the city having well over 1,000 employees, it is hard to fathom that they have a retention and worker shortage problem. I clicked on this web ad today and out of 27 positions, only 8 are full-time and the remainder 19 are part-time.

My guess is if you are only looking to hire 8 full-time people when you have over 1,000 current employees, you are sitting pretty good as an organization. Ironically, besides more officers, that we supposedly need, and a mechanic most of the other positions are not really applicable to the service of the public when it comes to infrastructure and public safety (really the only main expenditures a city should have). Does the finance department really need another accountant (as of 2021 they had 6 in the finance department) or a Librarian (they have 9 with 40+ Librarian associates) I will agree though hiring a full-time counselor is a good idea since the current private contractor we are using has a counselor director that is a Federally convicted criminal.

I’ll say it again, the retention bonus had nothing to do with retention, it had to do with an election and a mayor who has done almost absolutely nothing for 4 years for either the citizens or the city employees and is trying to play catchup 30 days before an election.


#1 rufusx on 03.11.22 at 6:58 am

Turn over rate is not something that is measured like the oil level on to your dipstick – only related to the only moment you take a look. It is a measure that reflects a percentage on an annual basis. A turn over rate of more to about 7-8% per year would indicate a retention problem. (I.E., about double the state unemployment rate) So, 70-80 new hires a year would be right on the edge.

#2 D@ily Spin on 03.11.22 at 7:10 am

You have a point. A good one. The timing for bonuses is suspicious if not obvious. City employees don鈥檛 like change and cling to lucrative benefits. They鈥檇 have voted for TenHaken anyway.

#3 I've been Purple Rained on 03.11.22 at 10:40 am

What do you mean he has done nothing for four years? I have a new chicken sandwich because of him, my car is always clean now, and I am very comfortable at the State Theatre because of him. He also educated me about tornadoes and “red lines”, and don’t forget about his educating of all of us on the complexity of being for and against mask usage. And he also taught me how you don’t always have to wear a tie, or shave, and that trucker hats are cool and appropriate at times. In fact, before him, I had never heard of a FB Live thing…. What do you mean he hasn’t accomplished anything? 馃槈 #SoUngrateful

#4 "Woodstock" on 03.11.22 at 10:42 am

“‘Purple Rained’?”…. “That sounds like some kind of new stage at Silverstar”….

#5 The Guy From Guernsey on 03.11.22 at 8:13 pm

A couple of my kids have told me about getting purple rained.
Something about cocktails, fish bowls or pitchers and one of the downtown establishments on a Friday night.

#6 Public Sector Management 101 on 03.12.22 at 8:38 am

One of the strategies employed by managers in the public sector is to advertise the job at a much lower rate than is intended to be paid long term. Those on the outside don’t apply because the pay is below what they could earn elsewhere for the same work and those on the inside know that their friends will promote them quickly on some pretense to a wage higher than is advertised. This ensures that jobs are awarded on a patronage basis instead of a competence basis thereby maintaining the status quo for those in power. I have not recently done a comparison but if someone has time it would be interesting to see how much of that happens in Sioux Falls.

#7 Warren Phear on 03.12.22 at 9:08 am

Close to one in three city employees are part time. Part timers are limited to no more than 1456 hours of work a year. Seasonal summer and winter part timers work long hard hours, but cannot exceed 1456 hours for year. That threshold is there to keep from having to provide basic needs benefits like health insurance, paid time off, 401k plan, and retirement pension plan. Also the hourly salary is well below what a full timer makes. Many part timers think getting their foot in the door is the first step towards the coveted full time positions. For the most part, that is nothing more than an illusion.

Like Scott implies, there really is not a problem filling full time positions. Never has been. Never will be. Sure, the city is at the tail end of baby boomer generation retirements and turnover because of that, and no more than that, is the reason there is a higher than normal amount of employees opting out. Has NOTHING to do with low pay and/or the benefits package. The private sector cannot ever come close to offering the same pay and benefits.

#8 l3wis on 03.12.22 at 9:33 am

Last night I did a quick glance of the city salaries. Most temp and part-time is in that $15-$17 place. I could only find around a dozen city employees who are full-time that make between $17-$19 an hour. Everyone one else that is non-management is between $20-$30 and hour. This of course is only their base pay. Benefits include on top of pay;

Benefits for full time employees:

路 Health Insurance: Competitive rates for single, 2-party, and family.
路 Dental Insurance: Competitive rates for single, 2-party, and family
路 Lifetime Pension Benefit upon retirement: South Dakota Retirement System. Vested after three years.
路 Deferred Compensation Plan: Additional investment opportunities via 457 plan or Roth IRA
路 Life Insurance: Employer provides minimum of 1X annual salary
路 AD&D: Employer provides minimum of 1X annual salary
路 Vacation: Two weeks earned in first year of service. Vacation accrual increases with years of service.
路 11 paid holidays and 2 personal leave days each calendar year
路 Sick Leave: 3.7 hours accrued bi-weekly, unlimited accruals
路 Maternity and Paternity Leave: Use up to 8 consecutive weeks of accumulated sick leave for bonding with a newborn, adopted, or foster child
路 Military leave: Strong supporter of enlisted employees
路 Employee Assistance Program: Employee and immediate family
路 Flexible Spending Accounts: For qualified medical and dependent care expenses

To say there is a retention problem is a farce.

#9 Public Sector Management 101 on 03.12.22 at 11:57 am

In the public sector the idea is to negotiate automatic inflation increases based on the consumer price index not on the wage index and only allow change in the positive direction. By using the price index and not the wage index the public sector ensures that their standard of living moves up faster than their non-public sector counterparts. The method encourages the rank and file to row in the big government direction because each spending decision increases their relative standard of living due to the resulting inflation. In the private sector COL increases are virtually unheard of outside a few union jobs.

#10 Purple Rained on 03.12.22 at 7:14 pm

Speaking of purple rained cocktails, the Moscow Mule has been renamed Freedom Fries, I mean the Kyiv Mule.

#11 Public Sector Management 101 on 03.13.22 at 10:44 am

The contrast between the public and commercial sectors is quite stark when it comes to how market adjustments are conducted.

In the commercial sector each job description is generally analyzed for turnover. So for example if one is dramatically overpaying lawyers there is no turnover and so there is no market adjustment. Next goals are examined and if it is desired, for example to have an ineffective department to make it easier to loot the place, then one decides if it makes sense to hire a cheaper form of ineffective labor, such as legal aides to fill out the growth because they can be ineffective at a reduced cost.

In the public sector the idea is to find one job class that is below market and use that turnover rate to justify market increases and promotions for everyone, especially the overpaid patronage hires, preferably right before an election.

Unfortunately, it is all too common in both environments to financially reward management by their span of control not their accomplishments or how their metrics compare to their peers. This generally leads to managers always complaining they need more head count. In the commercial sector the bloating trend is resolved by x% annual “performance” pruning. In the public sector the problem just grows as pruning almost never happens.