The city engineer in Menominee retired in January. The position has not been filled. The city is contracting out for engineering services.

The city recently reached a contract agreement for an Iron Mountain firm to handle its legal services. It’s a temporary fix until it can hire someone on a full-time basis who will be an in-house attorney.

It’s hard to realize that the engineer’s slot has been vacant for seven months. Is it because the city has not launched an aggressive recruiting campaign? Is it the salary and fringe benefits that are not attractive? Is it because the job likely would include engineering and director of public works where the engineer has multiple duties of responsibility? Or is it because candidates simply aren’t interested in working in a small community?

The city is looking for a candidate who has some experience under their belt. Perhaps the salary isn’t high enough to lure candidates here.

Whatever the reasons may be, the city needs a full-time in-house engineer. We concur that experience is important. However, history tells us that every department head in the city did not come into the position with experience. On-the-job training is not a bad thing. There are all kinds of success stories where a rookie candidate filled a position well.

The city has no guarantee that someone doing the work under a contract arrangement is experienced.

No doubt City Manager Tony Graff has a difficult assignment when it comes to recruiting. A robust economy makes it tough to fill positions, especially in the ranks of professional lawyers and engineers. We would be surprised if every engineering student who graduated in May or June has a job by now.

Now is the time for the city manager and the council to come up with a creative plan to fill the positions of engineer and attorney. Menominee’s to-do list is growing by the day. The city needs an in-house engineer and an in-house city attorney.