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Vilas County Highway Department has trouble finding a diesel mechanic

August 27, 2019 by Brian Jopek

The Vilas County Highway Department has been trying to hire a third diesel mechanic since March 1. 

Highway commissioner Nick Scholtes said the main reason there’s been no success is something that’s an issue for other highway departments.

“The private sector is paying more than we are,” he said. 

Scholtes said he put out a request asking for information from other county highway departments and heard back from 32. 

“A number of them said, ‘Yeah, we feel your pain — we’re experiencing the same thing,’” he said. “They’ve adjusted wages, looked at changing pay scales and everything else because they can’t keep with it. They can’t compete with the private sector.”

It isn’t like there have been no applicants at all. 

“We’ve had three really well qualified candidates,” Scholtes said. “Each time, the candidate turned us down. We’re trying to come up with a plan to get that position filled.”

He’d been working with the county’s previous human resources director, Deb Bohn, and will now be working with new HR director, Richard Kipley.

“We’re trying to formulate a plan to make our position more inviting,” Scholtes said. “We’re looking at some different options to draw in some qualified candidates.”

One thing he’ll be doing is representing the highway department at a job fair at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton next month.

Brian Jopek may be reached via email at [email protected]

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