Since September, when Menlo Park police commander Dave Bertini began work as the city's interim human resources director, the city has hired or promoted 31 people, he said.
There are still 27 city staff positions to fill, he said. The city is in the process of hiring people to fill two high-level positions the human resources manager and finance manager and seven other positions.
New hires include office assistants, engineers, assistant engineers, teachers and tree maintenance workers. Nick Pegueros was hired as administrative services director and Justin Murphy was promoted to public works director.
Key challenges are making it difficult to fill city jobs, Mr. Bertini said.
First, he said, it's hard to find people with enough experience, especially in planning and public works.
Second, given the high cost of housing in the Menlo Park area, it can be difficult to find people willing to make a long commute from areas where they can afford to live. This is especially true for jobs like building inspectors and tree maintenance workers.
"On the amount of money we pay," he said, "people can't afford to live around here. They have to end up commuting really far."
Finally, people who do have experience in other cities are wary of relocating due to the California Public Employees' Pension Reform Act, which took effect in 2013 and changed the way that public employees receive retirement benefits. He said some job candidates decided not to accept a position when they learned that the retirement "tier" at which they accrue pension funds would not transfer to a Menlo Park job.