07/09/08 — Wayne County OKs 4-day work week tryout

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Wayne County OKs 4-day work week tryout

By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 9, 2008 1:47 PM

Most Wayne County government offices will move to a four-day work week beginning Monday, Aug. 4. Rising fuel prices and the general higher cost of doing business are being cited for the move.

County Manager Lee Smith, who announced the new schedule Tuesday morning during a joint meeting of county commissioners and school board, said the new schedule could save up to 15-17 percent in utility costs. That translates to between $300,000 to $500,000 -- close to a penny on the county's tax rate.

The change, Smith said, will not lower the level of service.

"A lot of people can't get to our offices because of their work, or there might be a skeleton staff at lunch," he said. "Now they can come before or after (their work)."

The following departments will remain on normal operating hours

Building Department Schedule

Courthouse Register of Deeds Open Monday through Friday

Tax Office 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Planning Department

Inspection Department

Finance Department

County Manager's Office

County Admin. Bldg. Board of Elections Open Monday through Friday

8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Animal Shelter Animal Control Open Monday through Friday

8 am. to 5 p.m.

The Sheriff's Office also will continue on normal operating hours.

The following departments will begin a new operating schedule on Monday, Aug. 4.

Building Department Schedule

Jeffreys Bldg. Emergency Services Admin. Closed Friday

Human Resources Closed Friday

Borden Bldg. DSS Child Protectice Services Closed Friday

County Office Bldg. Health Department Closed Friday

Social Services Closed Friday

WCDA WC Dev. Alliance Closed Friday

Courthouse DSS Child Support Closed Friday

County Admin Bldg. Veterans Services Closed Friday

Day Reporting Day Reporting Open Monday through Thursday

8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Open Friday, 8 a.m. to noon

Services on Aging Services on Aging Open Monday through Thursday

7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Open Friday, 7:30 a.m. to noon

Landfill Solid Waste Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday

and Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Open Saturday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Closed Wednesday

Convience Centers Solid Waste Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday,

Friday and Saturday

7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Closed Wednesday

Also, the 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. schedule will provide a time for county employees to handle administrative work, he said.

"Will it be convenient for everybody? Absolutely not." he said. "But we are having to change how we do business. I think we are the first."

In addition, county employees should see about a 20-percent reduction in their commuting fuel costs. It also will give them more time with their families, Smith said.

Most offices will operate on 10-hour shifts, Monday through Thursday and will be closed on Fridays.

Not affected by the change are most offices in the courthouse. The register of deeds, tax office, planning department, inspections department, finance department and county manager's office will continue to operate from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Sheriff's Office also will continue its normal operating hours.

The landfill and convenience centers will be closed on Wednesdays. The landfill be open 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The convenience centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on those same days.

Smith said he has heard very few comments or concerns from county employees about the change.

The biggest concern, he said, has been day care for their children.

To address that issue, Smith has authorized department heads to provide flexible schedules for employees with day care issues.

Also, the county is looking into the possibility of contracting with a private day care provider to open a program for employees' children in a county-owned building.

The county had been looking at the switch to the four-day schedule for several months. After originally presenting the idea to county commissioners, Smith worked with the county's Benefits Task Force to come up with the plan.

The task force presented its recommendation to proceed at commissioners' July 1 session.

During that session, commissioners agreed to Smith's recommendation they provide him the authority to make an administrative decision concerning implementation of the plan.

Commissioner Jack Best said at the meeting that if it caused too much chaos, the county could always kill the new schedule.

Smith said it will take at least a full year -- through all four seasons -- to get a true grasp of how effective the change is.

"We will need to see where the spikes are," he said.

Even though the total hours of operation will remain the same, the savings will come from having the buildings closed for an extra day, Smith said.

The building would start being shut down on Thursday afternoon and be completely closed on Friday and Saturday before being started back up on Sunday evening.

Smith noted that the buildings require a period of shutdown and startup.

It is not like turning a light off and on or even starting a home heating and cooling system, he said.