The search is on to fill several vacant positions with the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (WMPO). The vacancies have reduced the regional transportation planning agency's 11-member staff down to nearly half capacity, according to Mike Kozlosky, executive director of the WMPO.
Three resignations have been received over the past few weeks, essentially eliminating the agency's Long Range Planning section. Two other positions within the transportation planning agency -- a geographic systems analyst (GIS) planner and a project engineer position -- are also open, Kozlosky said.
The WMPO, within the city of Wilmington's Planning, Development and Transportation Department, provides regional and cooperative transportation planning that serves as the basis for the spending of all federal transportation funds in the greater Wilmington area.
Those in the Long Range Planning section who have recently left the planning organization include Josh Lopez, associate transportation planner, and Suraiya Motsinger, senior transportation planner. Beth Doliboa, associate transportation planner, will serve her last day with the agency on Tuesday.
Kozlosky said those who recently resigned from their positions have left for "what they feel are better opportunities."
“With change comes ... immediate challenges. However, it does provide new opportunities as well. And so, the organization is going to continue to function as it has since it was created,” said Kozlosky, who is actively recruiting.
WMPO Board Chairman Gary Doetsch has requested a study and recommendations to help prevent future loss, according to the July 26 agenda.
When asked about the study Monday, Kozlosky said, "We’ve been asked to put together some information on some recommendations and ... provide some information on our ability to retain staff. We have not prepared anything at this time for the board to review."
The WMPO is exploring the reason for the departures and looking into any possible "avenues or opportunities to improve," Kozlosky said. One staff member had been employed with the agency for more than six years.
Business is being conducted as usual with work distributed among existing staff members, he said. However, Kozlosky said the federally mandated Long Range Transportation Plan, which was scheduled to kick off in July, has been delayed until October.
The WMPO will soon advertise for a senior transportation planner. The deadline to apply to become an associate planner for the WMPO, advertised on the city of Wilmington’s job listings website, is today. The city lists the position as full time with a salary range between $46,540-$58,188 annually.
"I feel very confident we will bring in a new staff that is just as competent as the staff we lost. We’re actively working to get those positions filled," Kozlosky said. "We’re going to fill them as quickly as possible with qualified applicants."