Youngstown metropolis feeling crunch of employee scarcity


YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO (WKBN) – Like other businesses and cities across the country, the City of Youngstown has suffered quite a bit when it comes to employee loss.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a crisis relationship, but it’s getting very close,” said Jeff Limbian, director of city law.

So far this year, Youngstown has lost at least 34 employees. Some of them have retired, others have resigned.

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Last year, the city lost a total of 35 employees and in 2019, 43 employees left, retired or were given notice.

One department that is badly affected when it loses staff is the police.

“We currently have the lowest headcount in history,” said Lieutenant Brian Butler, Youngstown Police Department personnel inspector.

Butler says it has been difficult to attract new recruits to the police force in recent years.

“We have seen police applicants drop by 75% over the past five years. It’s very disheartening, ”said Butler.

The city’s legal department has also lost two assistant judicial directors and a prosecutor.

“I understand that this is a national epidemic, but it hits very closely here. And until we pay people what their value is to us, they won’t stay, ”Limbian said.

Limbian says many of the employees who are leaving are going to find higher paying jobs. He also says that the budget for each department is agreed by the city council.

But Councilor Samantha Turner says they don’t actually create the budget. She says it is up to each department head to meet with the finance director and the mayor to work out a budget that meets the needs of her department and then submit it to the council for a vote.

“For staff and wages, we assume that the department head spoke to the mayor and the finance director and said that these are my department’s needs for the positions in terms of wages and that is now included in this budget. ” said Turner.

She agrees that the city must work together to pay competitive wages to keep employees.

“I think the current government is seeing this and trying to help us where we are going, but our department heads need to come to the council and tell us the problems they are facing and what they need. And as a council, we need to make an informed quality decision to improve wages for each of our employees, ”said Turner.

In the past 3 years the city has hired 50 new permanent employees, but 11 of these 50 are no longer with the city.

We are told that the Mayor of Youngstown, along with the department heads, also has the recruitment authority. We have contacted Mayor Tito Brown several times, but have not heard from him.