Jackson water treatment plants facing critical staffing shortages
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Certified Operators are desperately needed at Jackson’s water treatment plants.
At issue is the pay. Tuesday an emergency order was approved by the council to keep the few remaining workers at the plants.
“Obviously at O.B. Curtis, as well as Fewell, we’re at a critical shortage,” said Jackson Public Works Director Marlon King.
He urged the City Council to pass an emergency order to pay staff - funds needed, he said, to keep them afloat. Operations at the treatment plants can be in jeopardy because of the lack of certified operators.
There are currently five to six Class A Certified Operators. Both plants are budgeted for 24. According to King, at least 12 are needed for both facilities.
“The biggest challenge that we face is that we need operators that have at least A class; a certification which is what’s needed to run our plant and so there’s just a shortage statewide,” said King.
Water Plant Deputy Director Mary Carters said Class A Certified operators earn $14 an hour. She said the city is working on a $500 pay raise to attract certified workers.
“You don’t have a lot of A rated plants, but also we do have a challenge for that. We’re addressing now in terms of pay increases,” said King. “So we have been working with Dr. Williams, as well as with Miss Mary Carter whose over the plants, to get those salary adjustments so we can remain competitive in this market.”
The emergency order was for over $110,000 to pay temporary workers and maintenance at the plants.
The Public Works Director said they hope to have a new pay structure for public works completed in the next few months.
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