In order to avoid costs associated with overtime pay, Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner said she lifted the hiring freeze on 24-hour state institutions on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2003.
The hiring freeze, in place for state employees since September 2002, will no longer apply to hospitals and medical centers operated by Delaware Health and Social Services, detention centers and treatment centers operated by the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, the prisons and other 24-hour facilities operated by the Department of Correction.
"These are areas of state government that must be staffed around the clock and where employees can only go so far in covering for vacant positions," Gov. Minner said.
"As a result, overtime costs in these institutions are up considerably this year and it makes more sense at this time to hire regular employees in these areas."
Wednesday's move affects 624 currently vacant positions in those facilities. There are 2,115 vacant positions in state government -- close to 13 percent of the state's full-time positions.
"The hiring freeze has been one of the critical tools we have used for managing our way through the recession, avoiding the layoffs and other drastic budget actions taken by other states," Gov. Minner said. "The economy may be showing signs of improving and I hope that we will be able to completely lift the hiring freeze before too long."
Agency heads do not plan on advertising or hiring all 624 positions immediately, but will take a phased approach toward filling the vacancies.
Throughout the period of the hiring freeze, Gov. Minner has reviewed and approved the filling of selected positions in critical areas, including nurses, correctional officers and others.
This process is still in effect for all agencies and facilities not covered by Wednesday's action.