AUSTIN, Texas — In a sign of the city’s ongoing need for new hires, Arlington firefighters have been hit with a hiring freeze.
The city’s chief of fire services, Lt.
John Czaja, announced on Friday that his agency has decided to reduce the number of full-time employees to 3,000, from about 6,000.
The announcement came as firefighters across the city are scrambling to fill vacant positions, with many relying on online job postings to fill the gaps.
The department posted a job listing on the job portal, seeking firefighters with experience in the emergency response.
The job description was filled with descriptions of how the position would be performed, from driving a vehicle to serving as a medical technician, according to the Arlington Fire Department’s website.
The department has posted an ad on Craigslist seeking firefighters who are interested in working as paramedics, emergency medical technicians and other emergency medical workers, Czajas office said.
In addition, the Arlington Police Department has posted a call for help, with a $20,000 pay offer.
City officials are hoping to fill these positions through attrition or through a merger of the department and the city.
They are also looking at hiring people with specialized training in emergency medicine and law enforcement.
The move comes as the department is trying to fill vacancies that have been growing over the past year, Czaraja said.
“Our workforce is growing and our need is growing,” Czaji said.
“The demand is outstripping our ability to meet the needs.”
The department’s recruitment efforts have been met with a growing number of applications, which is frustrating, Czyaja said in a news release.
Czajajas hiring freeze has led to some criticism.
A letter to the city from the Dallas Morning News and others criticized the move, saying that while the department had put a hiring cap in place, the cap was not sufficient to adequately address the demand for emergency services in the city, and the hiring freeze would not solve the citys fire crisis.
Czagoas decision to freeze the hiring cap was “a mistake that will put an additional strain on our firefighters,” the letter said.
The Arlington Fire Departments hiring freeze comes after Arlington Mayor Steve Adler asked the city council to approve a proposal that would allow Arlington to merge with the Dallas Fire Department, the city said in an email to The Dallas Morning Star.
The merger, which was approved by the city Council in December, would create a newly formed fire department.
Aldermen voted last month to approve the merger.
The city would be the sole fire service in the state of Texas.