Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fleeing the scene

KDKA had a video on how many new Pittsburgh police recruits wind up jumping ship and leaving to work in other departments soon after they graduate their initial training. For more see: Pittsburgh Police A Training Ground?

The lost investment that the city makes in employees it can't retain is an issue, but not the real issue that story uncovers. I keep being told that these city jobs, especially police and fire are some of the most plum sought after, highly paid, over-compensated jobs there are. Yet people vote with their feet as they say. If getting one of these jobs is tantamount to winning the lottery that requires immense political pull (as some believe), why are the folks who finally get these jobs walking away from them in droves, especially long before they vest in any of those benefits? Is the labor market proving all those slogans long since overcome by history.
Now I believe the city will always get some recruits to fill their rolls, but the issue will always be getting the right recruits for the job. Police and fire as well as lots of other jobs vital to public safety can't be the employer of last resort for folks looking for work. It makes you wonder what the impact of benefit cuts, greater restrictions on overtime pay and other Act 47 related impacts, either those implemented or expected in the future, are impacting recruiting and retention of city workers. Maybe there is an impact to working in a department down over 30% in total number of cops on the street in the last 10 years, I bet violence on the streets has not declined by that much over the same period. Anyone want to bet there is a lot of self selection going on in who chooses to stay and who is leaving the Police department. It's true in lots of industries that your best employees are the hardest to keep.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of which -- I recently noticed this article and immediately thought of the comparisons you've been making between Vallejo and Pittsburgh.
Bankrupt Vallejo bleeding its police force

Sunday, August 17, 2008 9:05:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

yeah.. I saw that.. and I have more on bankruptcy for Tuesday.

Monday, August 18, 2008 10:11:00 PM  

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