Memo for fiscal year 2018, updated 2017-04-14

[Archived] Question #56: What is the cost of vacant positions in the budget?


What is the cost of vacant positions in the budget?


Of the 2,564 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions included in the FY 2018 proposed budget, 250 are vacant, or 9.8%, at a cost of $17.3 million in salaries and benefits, or 2.0% of the total budget. General Fund vacancies are 172 FTEs and $12.2 million. The General Fund proposed budget includes a $2.7 million vacancy savings factor, which reduces funding for vacant positions in the budget to $9.5 million, or 1.3% of the budget. In most cases, the roles and responsibilities of vacant positions are continued through overtime and/or contracted services expenditures funded by the savings realized from their temporary vacancy. This would significantly reduce or eliminate the amount of the $17.3 million in salaries available for other uses for these positions. 

To fill a vacant position staff must seek and receive OMB approval, advertise and recruit candidates, review/assess applications, conduct interviews, select the most qualified candidate and receive Human Resources approval that the overall process was consistent with the City’s hiring policies to excluded bias. In addition, when a position becomes vacant, the department may review its business needs before initiating the hiring process to determine whether it still meets the departments needs. If not, the department may request authorization to reclassify the position to perform different functions or seek a different set of skills or experience to perform the existing function. This review is completed in consultation with Human Resources and OMB staff and requires an assessment of the position’s proposed job functions and a comparison to similar job classifications in comparator jurisdictions to ensure compensation is consistent with Alexandria’s compensation philosophy. Between the steps of the normal recruitment and selection process, the additional time required to re-evaluate and reclassify positions, and staff capacity for managing the hiring processes, the length of time a position remains vacant can be many months.

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