ActivePaper Archive Hiring incentives to be phased out - Hobbs News Sun, 2014-04-11

Hiring incentives to be phased out

HPD, HFD perks to be cut by 2015

A city incentive has been successful in increasing the number of employees at the Hobbs Fire Department and Hobbs Police Department and since the incentive worked well, the city is ready to cut back on the funds.

During a Monday city commission meeting, commissioners approved to reduce and discontinue the HPD and HFD hiring incentives.

In 2013, a hiring incentive was implemented for HPD and HFD to help in employee recruitment. The incentive included a $50,000 housing incentive for a 10-year commitment and a $25,000 housing incentive for a five-year commitment for certified personnel at HFD and HPD.

Employees that have received the incentive will keep the $50,000 or $25,000 housing incentive. The hiring incentives are planned to be phased out during the 2015 fiscal year.

“What this will do is it will give a timeline for the police and fire incentives to phase out,” J.J. Murphy, city manager, said. “The police department incentive will get reduced on Sept. 1 from $50,000 to $25,000 and terminated on March 1, 2015. The fire incentive would get reduced from $50,000 to $25,000 starting Jan. 1 and terminated on June 30, 2015.”

J.J. Murphy said the incentive has worked well to recruit new fire and police personnel.

“We have hired over 20 new police officers,” he said. “The incentives have worked just how they we’re built. Now we’re getting our staffing level to where they are needed — certainly in the police department and we’re going to be doing the same with the fire department.”

According to city officials, HPD has approximately eight open positions.

Mike Stone, HPD public information officer, said the incentives have been beneficial for HPD recruitment.

“We’re almost full,” he said.

Barry Young, HFD deputy chief, said the incentives have been a nice perk to offer potential employees.

“I think the incentives have served their purpose and they've done well for us,” he said. “Where we sit right now I only have three positions open. We are budgeted for 81 personnel and we had 61 so we were 20 positions short before those incentives rolled out.”

HFD recently had a hiring fire test, which Young said he had a great turn out.

“I’ve had two hiring processes in the last three months and I have 17 people in the process,” he said. “They're not currently hired on but they potentially (will).”

Denise Marquez can be reached at 391-5437 or at reporter@hobbsnews.com.