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Staffing shortages continue at Delaware’s Department of Transportation

Delaware Public Media

Staffing shortages continue at Delaware’s Department of Transportation.

Department wide, there is currently about a 14% vacancy rate, caused by longtime employees retiring and workers leaving to pursue more lucrative private sector jobs combined with a lack of new talent coming in.

In the maintenance and operations division, there is a 22% vacancy rate, with 77 positions open.

DelDOT’s C.R. McLeod says this is an area of major concern.

“Those are our operators who are doing everything from repairing guard rails, fixing potholes, plowing snow in the winter time- they have numerous duties that they are performing for us.”

Winter is key here. While fall only officially began this past weekend, DelDOT is already preparing for the chance of hazardous roadways when the snowy season arrives.

“Last year we were lucky because we didn't really have a traditional winter that required snow plowing. But we just want the public to be aware that with that many vacant operator positions, it’s definitely going to have an impact on how quickly we clear roads should we have a statewide winter weather event,” said McLeod.

Recruitment and retention efforts are being made.

DART is offering a sign-on bonus of up to $3,000 for new Bus Operators, Auto Technicians, and Mechanics at their October 14th career fair- an attempt to get critical positions filled fast.

The state is also working to make public sector salaries more competitive, and looking to high schools to recruit new talent.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware and graduated of the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021