Snoqualmie government approves temporary workers amid staffing shortages

In its ongoing battle with staffing shortages, the City of Snoqualmie has entered into a contract with a consulting company to provide temporary workers for the clerk’s office and finance department.

The agreement between the city and Robert Half, a management consulting company, would supply the city with temporary staff to be used on a limited basis.

The city’s clerk office needs extra staff working on record retention, legislative requirements and updating the city’s online document center. Meanwhile, the city’s finance department — which has been without a permanent director since December — needs additional support as it approaches its 2022-2023 biennial budget process.

“Really what we’re focused on with this agreement is trying to bring on temporary staff to deal with short-term needs on some of those projects that have been put on hold,” said Mark Correira, the city’s fire chief, who has been spearheading projects to address staffing shortages. “Some of those things that need to get done are important, but do not necessarily require a full-time equivalent or additional position to be filled.”

Mayor Katherine Ross said staff across several departments are working some overtime and performing additional functions. She added that there are several reasons for the hiring difficulties, including high housing costs making it a challenge to hire outside the Seattle area.

The Robert Half plan, which was unanimously approved by the city council, would expire until the end of 2022, but could be renewed, if needed.

The city previously used Robert Half in January, when 33% of the information technology department was unable to work or on “legally required time off.”

The city has been dealing with staffing shortages since at least last October, when the former city finance director said 15% of city staff positions remained vacant. The city began 2022 with nearly a quarter of its positions vacant, according to a report by Correira, but most of those were concentrated among public works and police staff.

In mid-March, the city council, following a similar trend in other cities, adopted a bonus incentive for all new hires, excluding entry level police officers, in an effort to attract more candidates.

Correira said that no one is working illegally, just that “there’s a lot of different people wearing a lot of different hats.”