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Sonoma County’s Staffing Shortage Crisis Hurting Residents, Workers

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Prospective employees and employers meet during a job fair at the LGBTQ Center in San Francisco on May 16, 2023. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

Sonoma County’s airport, jail, and social services office, among other county services, are suffering from severe understaffing. According to a six-month investigative report by Sonoma’s Press-Democrat, vacancy rates for key county positions range from 25% to 41%. Burnout, turnover and early retirements are contributing to the crisis. Meanwhile, frustrated county residents seeking assistance face long lines, interminable hold times, and busy phone signals. We’ll talk about how Sonoma is trying to address these problems, which are common to many Bay Area counties.


Emma Murphy, Sonoma County government and politics reporter, Santa Rosa Press Democrat - Murphy co-authored the newspaper's investigative series on understaffing across Sonoma County departments

Martin Espinoza, senior reporter of investigations team, Press Democrat - Espinoza co-authored the paper's investigation of understaffing across Sonoma County departments

Janell Crane, director human resources, Sonoma County

Travis Balzarini, president, SEIU Local 1021 Sonoma County Chapter


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