"I think what's changed is that the (current) economy has people looking for jobs that provide good medical insurance and benefits that they can get with a government job, as opposed to just looking for the highest salary," said Browning, program manager for the Pima County Consumer Health and Safety unit.
Despite the hiring bonanza, Browning
remains seven workers short of the 28 people budgeted for the unit, which is charged with inspecting more than 10,000 licensed restaurants, bars, grocery stores, trailer parks, schools and swimming pools.
...Browning, whose sole job would be overseeing the division were it fully staffed, has since 2005 worn three hats: manager, supervisor and sanitarian.
A full staff would include Browning
, three supervisors, 20 sanitarians and four sanitarian assistants.Right now she
has no supervisors and is short three sanitarians and one assistant.
The extra work and stress resulting from understaffing compounds what is essentially the biggest reason for attrition - a less-than-competitive salary, Browning
said. "I lose them primarily because they leave for more money.That's what they communicate to me," Browning
So far, Browning
has been able to ensure that restaurants open within state timetables. For most of February, at least two sanitarians are unavailable to help the unit catch up on inspections because they spend all their time inspecting the temporary food vendors that set up for the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase. "With the gem show in town, for every four legal vendors that tell us who they are and go through the proper process, you have one wildcat vendor that just sets up and starts selling food.So you have to look for all of those and find them and then issue cease-and-desist orders along with checking all the legal ones for compliance," Browning
...To be hired in Pima County as a sanitarian in training, you must be eligible to take the test, which requires either five years of military experience in the environmental health field, five years experience as a sanitarian assistant, or at least 30 hours of course work in physical and natural sciences from an accredited college, said Sharon Browning, unit director for Pima County.
It's not uncommon for sanitarians to take on a new task after the close of every session of the state Legislature, Browning
said. "For example, if the state passes the new ordinance on licensing body art that they're considering, we'll be doing that too," she