The New York Housing Conference published a policy brief looking at the causes of the HPD staffing crisis and recommendations to get the agency fully-staffed quickly.

As of March 2022, HPD had a headcount of 2,244, a shrinking of their headcount by 7 percent since before the pandemic and 16 percent less than they are allowed under the budget this year. Since we last reported on staffing at the agency with numbers from December, the problem has gotten worse; the agency has seen their headcount shrink another 2 percent under Mayor Eric Adams in his first three months.

HPD leadership has stated that rebuilding the agency is a top priority and they have taken early steps to address the staffing crisis and use strategies to allow agency work to continue during the crisis.

The causes of the staffing crisis include inefficient civil service rules, unnecessary limits on hiring and promotions, staff pay that is less than comparable jobs in the private sector, slow bureaucratic oversight and lack of workplace flexibility compared to the private sector.

In response, NYHC recommends the following:

  1. Give managers discretion to hire within a pay scale
  2. Reduce OMB review of hires to random audits
  3. End OMB restrictions on hiring and promotions
  4. Get creative with hiring
  5. Increase work flexibility
  6. Find flexibility in the civil service system
  7. Improve recruitment

You can find the full policy brief here.