Ocean City Today

Number of OC departments hiring seasonal employees

Summer jobs available in Public Works, maintenance, police and transit divisions
By Katie Tabeling | May 18, 2017

(May 19, 2017) Several Ocean City government department heads said this week their needs for seasonal workers are being met with the traditional start of the summer season little more than a week away.

Some, like the Beach Patrol, are seeing an uptick in summer staff numbers after struggling to fill their ranks last year. The Beach Patrol traditionally seeks 200 lifeguards in the stands from Memorial Day to late September, but most their staff have jobs that start in the fall.

“This is our best recruiting season ever,” Ocean City Beach Patrol Capt. Butch Arbin said. “We’ve offered 83 people positions, and that’s more than we’ve ever had. That means with returning lifeguards, we’ll have more personnel and they could stay later in the season.”

At the moment, 120 lifeguards are interested in returning to the resort, but Arbin said that number could decrease. Beach Patrol held three tests so far at colleges and in Ocean Pines, and 25 people signed up for the last test on June 3 in Ocean City.

“We’re going to re-evaluate when we get closer to the test to see if there’s a drop,” Arbin said. “But this is why we tell people to test early – it fills up quick.”

Like OCBP, the Ocean City Police Department has seen a spike in seasonal officers, thanks to its aggressive campaign that involved college visits, job fairs and social media outreach. Chief Ross Buzzuro told the Police Commission last week that there were 77 summer officer recruits.

“That’s about 30 more than last year. We’re optimistic about the summer,” Buzzuro told city officials on May 8. “We had our seasonal officers in their first week of academy last weekend and nobody dropped out, so that’s a good sign.”

Still, Ocean City Police seasonal officers have been on the downturn for the last few years, when the city could easily meet a quota of 100.

Retention was also low this year, with only four seasonal officers returning for the job.

“At best, we might be able to get three years out of them,” Buzzuro said. “The market is so saturated. We need to work hard to make sure we get the new ones this year to come back next year.”

Other department heads like Transit Manager Mark Rickards said the bus driver recruitment numbers are on track with last year, with 158 operators signed. City officials set a target at 162 drivers for this summer.

“One-fifty is the number we definitely aim for, and we’re still hiring for backup drivers. The difference is now, we’re accepting people who have their CDLs [commercial driver’s license],” Rickards said. “In the past … we’d teach classes on how to drive the bus after they got the permit from the DMV.”

Ocean City has already met its goal for tram drivers and conductors with 24 people for each position, but it still seeking to fill two supervisor positions.

Public Works is having some struggles hiring its goal of 87 seasonal staff. Solid Waste Division is aiming to meet its goal for nine garbage truck drivers and a seven-man crew for them, with all positions filled but one truck driver.

The maintenance division is having a harder time meeting the 71 hires it wants. Right now, 58 people have been brought on.

“We’re having some issues with jobs like comfort station attendant and laborer,” Public Works Director Hal Adkins said. “These jobs could range from painting a street corner to putting up fence at the inlet lot for events like Cruisin’. They’re jobs people here don’t want to do, so we’re waiting for J-1 students. That also has limitations, like if they can drive or not.”

The maintenance division is waiting for nine J-1 visa students to arrive this summer, but will manage short-staffed until mid-June.

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