Oilfield Slowdown Fills City Positions

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - During the boom the City of Odessa had a hard time finding enough workers to fill all the empty positions. 

But our local economic slowdown has meant more applications for city jobs. They're lining up from cities all over the U.S., but Odessa leaders say the most interesting applicants are from right here in the Basin - employees who were forced out of the oil field.

Just a few months ago, the City of Odessa had hundreds of openings, now they're down to 86 - a sign that things have changed.

On Wednesday, Jesse Fuentez began his first full day working for Odessa Parks and Recreation. His story is becoming more and more common, an oilfield worker who lost his job and signed up with the city.

"I got cut hours, no work," Jesse Fuentez said. "I sat at home for about a month and a half. It gets hard on a family especially when you have a kid, and I have one on the way, so it gets hard."

Jesse's supervisor says our economic slowdown has brought in much-needed workers to fill city positions.

Jesse had to take a pay cut to work in Parks and Recreation, but he says being able to spend more time with his family is invaluable.

And as the applications continue to flood in, city leaders say they can now be more selective in who they hire.

"Especially with some of the companies that have been closing down, Flint Hills and some of the others that have closed we have had some very fine applicants," Don Byrne with Odessa Human Resources, said.

The area with the most openings is the police department, primarily because officers have to go through extensive training.