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Staffing Investments to Meet Public Services


Our municipality is the workplace for nearly 200 full-time professionals maintaining the quality of Scarborough. The Town relies on its employees to provide essential services like timely emergency response, snow and debris removal on streets, police keeping our streets safe, and more. These are services the community has come to expect and ensure a satisfactory quality of life in Scarborough. The Fiscal Year 2025 proposed budget is designed to invest in our most valuable asset - our people.

Staff retention is a priority investment for the fiscal year 2025 budget because it aims to address the challenges being faced in several departments—keeping up with the demands of a growing community, staying competitive with neighboring municipal employers, and setting the foundation for succession planning for retirements.  Inflation in wages is also a major determinant. The upward pressure of labor costs is a major driver in the proposed FY25 budget.

Significant financial resources are needed to settle the four open collective bargaining agreements (police officers, 911 dispatchers, firefighters, and Public Works operations division) which all expire on June 30, 2024. While the agreements are subject to Council approval, the competitive job market is driving increased wages at unprecedented rates and the investment intends to retain our existing staff.

Scarborough Police Department

For the Police department, staff is critical to keep our community safe and responsive to emergencies in a timely manner. The department relies on being at full capacity in order to keep up with daily calls for service. The Patrol Division is currently composed of 5 Patrol Sergeants and 18 patrol officers. Our current minimum staffing levels of one Sergeant and two Patrol Officers has unchanged for over three decades. This daily staffing model has become strained by the uptick in calls for service, making it increasingly difficult to maintain the level of service our citizens require and deserve. While new positions have not been added to this budget, keeping quality staff is essential to meet the needs of our community.

Meanwhile, we also have 10 officers who are retirement-eligible, 6 of whom have between 30-35 years of service. This is a concern given the hiring challenges each law enforcement agency in Maine has been experiencing for the last several years. We are challenged as a department to fill our patrol officer positions due to normal attrition while balancing the importance of expanding our staffing with new positions to meet the needs of the community.

Scarborough Fire Department

The Fire Department is also reliant on consistent staffing. The department recently filled their last two full-time openings; however, they continue to face staffing challenges with their part-time, or per diem, staff. This decline in available part-time firefighters is largely attributable to a confluence of factors: a decline in the overarching workforce of firefighters and EMS providers across the region and state, as well as more departments hiring full-time staff. Less availability of per diem/part time firefighters means we are more reliant on our full-time positions to provide the fire and EMS coverage we need.

The Scarborough Fire Department has worked hard to maintain a collective bargaining agreement that keeps us competitive with surrounding departments. Economic conditions beyond our control have resulted in many of our competitors negotiating Collective Bargaining Agreements with significantly increased wage packages. While our turnover rate remains low, it’s due in part to the Town’s commitment to compensate our most important capital assets, our Firefighters.

Public Works Department

The Public Works operations division, responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of public roadways, is another division with an expiring collective bargaining agreement at the end of FY24.  Sufficient staffing is critical for the services they provide to the community. Summers are dedicated to road maintenance, infrastructure upkeep, beach cleaning at Pine Point and Higgins, and cemetery maintenance. Winter work turns to snow plowing, tree trimming, and traffic signal maintenance.

Scarborough’s growth and nearly 50 miles of new public roads has heightened demands on these services. Even as the workload increases, Public Works staffing has remained static, making it more of a challenge to meet residents’ expectations. Consequently, there has been a growing reliance on contracted work and seasonal employees to prevent service declines, especially during winter maintenance operations. There are also some long term vacancies that pose a challenge in managing capacity to accomplish the year-round work.

The FY2025 municipal budget is seeking to maintain the services our residents have come to expect, the majority of which are dependent upon our dedicated and experienced staff to deliver. 


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