12/27/11 — A week? County's decision on how to handle holidays not citizen-friendly

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A week? County's decision on how to handle holidays not citizen-friendly

It is not like there really was no warning, but there was not a lot of fanfare either when the county decided it would close many county services the entire week after Christmas.

The decision came about because of the new four-day county workweek. With the holidays of Christmas and New Year's Day falling on Sundays, that meant the employees were owed a compensating paid holiday day off. When you work a four-day week anyway, that means your workweek is down to three.

And that is bad enough.

In the zeal to save money with the four-day week, the county has forgotten an important part of the existence of government in the first place -- to serve the needs of the people, people who have to work for a living.

Closing some county offices for an entire week, and some for all but one day, is not citizen-friendly. In fact, it is almost shocking considering we are entering the last days in which people can pay their tax bills without penalty.

Cutting back is good. We need more of that in government. But when the county came up with the four-day plan, the idea was that it not be detrimental to citizens' ability to get their business accomplished. And this week, that is not the case -- and unreasonably so.

In fact, it is not even the first time this problem has come up. The four-day week has already been questioned by the local Realtors, who have been limited on when they can get necessary work done at the courthouse.

Split schedules were the solution to this holiday concern, and rotating days off, to make sure there were people in place in key offices at the courthouse. That is what for-profit businesses do when there is a days-off dilemma. Their customers' needs come first.

And that should be the county's decision, too.

It is time to see just how much money is being saved with the four-day workweek as well as its real effect on county business.

Perhaps the county needs to add a few more workdays, even if the four-day week remains.

Published in Editorials on December 27, 2011 11:33 AM