Cobb County has put out the 'Help Wanted' sign

Cobb County is putting out the "help wanted" sign. Some county leaders said the number of vacancies has reached critical levels.

"Everybody in Cobb County government is having trouble hiring," said Cobb County spokesperson Ross Cavitt.

Cavitt said the problem is so bad, residents aren't getting some basic services on which they depend.

"Parks is having a difficult time opening some of their summer facilities, the water department is having trouble staffing their crews that repair water mains and staff the water treatment centers," said Cavitt.

One of the hardest hit departments is the Cobb Department of Transportation.

"Looking at our road maintenance, traffic signals, and signing and marking, we are 30 to 40 percent vacant," said Cobb DOT Director Drew Raessler.

In road maintenance alone, there are 65 instead of 100 employees taking care of 2400 miles of road.Raessler said they cannot do everything, so they prioritize safety issues.

"Those things that are not safety issues that are more aesthetic in nature like grass and trash are ‘as we are able to get to them’", said Raessler.

Raessler plans to ask the Board of Commissioners to use $1 million from the contingency fund to hire private contractors to fill in the gaps.

"To supplement staff on those safety items to make sure we're always able to get to those in a timely fashion," said Raessler.

Cobb County officials said overall vacancies in key positions have risen to critical levels.

Some departments want to use federal relief funds for $1,500 retention incentives to keep current employees from quitting and making the problem even worse.

"We're especially concerned about those that have these critical functions that keep up the county infrastructure and things that are important for the lives of the residents of the county," said Cavitt.

These may be short term fixes, but the bigger problem is overall pay. A recent study showed Cobb County pays 8 percent less than comparable governments. County Commissioners will take a closer look at that in July.