Longview career fair showcases city jobs
By BY Sherry Koonce firstname.lastname@example.org
June 13, 2012 at 11 p.m.
When Michael Furtney received a text from his mother Tuesday, it got his attention. Now he hopes he'll get the attention of others.
The short, but optimistic message informed the 20-year-old Longview man of a job fair hosted by the city of Longview.
"I've been out of work for several months now, and looking for a job for awhile," Furtney said.
His visit to the city of Longview Career Fair on Wednesday at the Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center was worth the effort, he said.
"What caught my attention was the animal control job," Furtney said. "I've liked animals all my life, so I applied for that job."
The event, sponsored solely by the city, provided information to people interested in municipal careers including police, fire and public works.
The Career Fair's goal was to not only to share information with potential employees, but to find the best employees for available jobs.
There are 11 positions open in the city, some of which have multiple openings. The police department has 11 openings for police officers and there are three openings for telecommunication operators within Public Safety Communications.
Though the city's fire department just closed its application process for the current openings, the process is expected to open again this summer to fill three more firefighter/EMS positions, said Shawn Hara, city of Longview public information officer.
Of the city's $170.3 million 2011-12 budget, $54.3 million is spent on employee salaries and benefits. Because the city is a service industry, the amount spent on payroll is a large part of the budget every year, Hara said.
In this fiscal year's budget, the city is authorized for 813 full-time employees and 45 part-time workers.
According to the city's website, the minimum monthly starting salary for a city of Longview firefighter is $3,679. Longview police officers start at $3,865 a month and a solid waste operator starts at $1,963 per month.
"The city of Longview strives to offer competitive pay packages with relation to similar jobs in similar cities," Hara said.
During Fiscal Year 2007-08, city officials conducted a compensation study comparing salaries to similar job categories in similar-sized cities. Results of the study were implemented in Fiscal Year 2008-09, Hara said.
Each year, the city typically has about 30 to 50 openings, Hara said. About 800 applications are received each quarter for open positions.
"We always encourage everyone to apply, because we hope to find the best possible candidate," Hara said.
Stacey Breland, 30, of Diana, and her friend Vicki Welch, 49, of Longview attended the career fair, hoping to find a better job with benefits. Both are hair stylists, affected by the weak economy.
"The economy is to where people are not getting their hair done as often, so we need something more stable," Breland said.
Though the women said they were looking for anything that was not too physically demanding, both agreed there were more city jobs than they anticipated.
"I thought most all city jobs were trash pickup, fire, police or animal control," Breland said.