County raising worker pay in order to recruit qualified drivers

Published 8:53 pm Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Warren County Board of Supervisors is raising the pay of its road department truck drivers in an effort to recruit CDL licensed truck drivers to work for the county.

County administrator John Smith said the road department has openings for five CDL licensed truck drivers, but has been unable to recruit qualified drivers to fill the slots.

“For over a year, we’ve been struggling to find CDL licensed divers for the Warren County Road Department,” county administrator John Smith said.

Presently, road manager Larry Flowers said, the department has a temporary driver and on occasion has had to pull equipment operators who have CDL licenses from their jobs to drive a truck.

Smith said Mike Smith with Staffing Solutions, an employment firm in Vicksburg that recruits drivers for the road department, indicated the pay for drivers appeared to be the problem and recommended increasing driver pay in hopes of attracting more candidates.

Road department truck drivers presently start at $9 an hour. The board will follow Mike Smith’s recommendation and increase that to $10.50 an hour in hopes it can fill five driver vacancies in the road department. The raises will cost the county $32,445 a year, Smith said. He said there are sufficient funds in the road department budget to cover the increase.

“Hopefully, we can attract some drivers,” he said.

District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon questioned the wisdom of raising the drivers’ pay by $1.50 and not doing the same for the other road employees.

If the county can’t hire drivers, District 1 Supervisor John Arnold said, the other employees won’t be needed, “because we won’t have anything (material) to work with, without drivers.”

The problem, board president Richard George said, is the county is unable to move material like dirt and gravel to work sites because it lacks drivers.

“The laborers, we can address them as we get into position to,” George said. “But we’ve got an immediate need with just daily operations suffering because we don’t have enough people, and we can’t hire them.”

“We can’t work the people we’ve got, because we can’t get the material out there,” Arnold said. “It’s much needed.”

Flowers said he has offered laborers the opportunity to apply for drivers, adding he has the information for the CDL test.

“A bunch of them come to get them, and they can move up if they want to, but they do not,” he said. “They don’t want to move up.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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