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City aims to fill open jobs, increase services

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The city of Roswell will be conducting a job fair Monday in hopes of being able to return some of its services to pre-pandemic levels.

The job fair will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Roswell Convention Center, 912 N. Main St. The city expects it will be making offers to qualified applicants on the same day, although those offers are contingent on the results of background checks and drug tests.

“We are trying to do an expedited, same-day offer to fill the positions that are currently open,” said Juanita Jennings, public affairs director for the city.

The city has almost 30 positions listed in the employment section of its website, including jobs in the police department, waste water treatment plant, emergency dispatch center and parks department.

Some positions, such as those at the recreation department, zoo and library are needed for the city to increase those areas to seven-day-a-week operation, Jennings said.

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“In order to open up those services, we have to have adequate staff and so we’re hoping that by having this job fair, it will expedite the normal HR (human resources) process,” she said.

Normally, the city’s hiring process can take between a couple of weeks to a month, depending on how long a job is listed, Jennings said. Under the normal process a job listing must be closed before interviews are conducted and background checks can take a couple more weeks, Jennings said.

She said the city has been having trouble finding qualified candidates.

“A lot of times it’s because they didn’t meet the qualifications of the job, either education or certification or things like that,” Jennings said.

“Sometimes you have a candidate that applies and everything goes great until it gets to the background and drug tests,” she said.

If a candidate does not have a clear background check or drug test, then the position must be opened again, Jennings said.

“It’s a process and so we’re hoping that by having most of our departments that have multiple openings there, we’ll have a great turnout with candidates that are qualified,” she said.

The city also has some positions that have received few applications. A listing for a guest services store supervisor posted a week and a half ago has had none, Jennings said. The position, with a listed pay range of $45,630 to $66,475 a year, will oversee the city’s retail stores and guest services staff at the Visitor Center, Spring River Zoo and the Recreation and Aquatic Center.

For some areas, such as the zoo, the city would like to hire extra people so it is prepared when the state opens from its pandemic restrictions, Jennings said. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Wednesday that when the state has 60% of the eligible population fully vaccinated, it will reopen. That’s projected to happen at the end of June.

“We have been trying to hire six positions for the zoo since December. We can’t even fill the six, so we figure if we hire more than six, by the time July 1 comes, we’re going to have plenty of staff to fully function for five to seven days a week,” Jennings said.

As to whether or not the city will conduct future job fairs, Jennings said staff will wait and see how Monday’s event goes. But a future job fair might involve more than just the city.

“We’ve had a lot of response from the business community asking to participate, so I believe there is a need out there for staffing. It’s something we’ve been talking about maybe offering a job fair for all of our local businesses, but we’re going to wait and see how this one goes,” Jennings said.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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