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In Baltimore, a quarter of jobs in the public-works department, which handles trash and water, remain stubbornly open

In Baltimore, a quarter of jobs in the public-works department, which handles trash and water, remain stubbornly open

Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg
CityLab
Government

Desperate U.S. Cities Pitch Wall Street-Style Sign-On Bonuses

The labor constraints jeopardize essential services such as trash pick-up, and exacerbate shortages in demanding jobs like 911 dispatchers that predated the Covid-19 crisis.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, landing a job with the police force or fire department may get you a sign-on bonus of $15,000, close to what some Wall Street bankers might expect.

Despite such incentives, about 1 in 10 local government jobs remains unfilled. Wait times on the city’s non-emergency police line are upwards of 45 minutes and several bus routes are cut each week.