10/02/08 — County officials say day care center off the table for county employees

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County officials say day care center off the table for county employees

By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 2, 2008 2:07 PM

A committee of Wayne County government employees next week is expected to recommend no action by the county on establishing a day care for the children of county employees.

Day care issues topped a list of employee concerns when the county moved to its four-day workweek in August.

Before implementing the change, county officials promised to

examine the possibility of a county-

operated day care for employees' children.

Meanwhile, County Manager Lee Smith said it is still premature to pass judgment on any energy savings created by the new workweek. He said the county needs to get some of the winter heating costs behind it before it will have a "good grasp on bills and savings."

Smith said he would ask the day care committee to come to commissioners' next board meeting on Tuesday.

"They (committee) finalized their study and it seems the (day care) need was not that great," Smith said. "We wound up having only 30 some that really had day care issues and they all seemed to have been resolved so there is really no call for, or special need, for a day care.

"Most (employees) seem to have resolved it themselves."

Smith said he has been pleased by the use of committees to study issues facing the county, such as the four-day week, child care and communications system.

"The manager gets accused of a lot of things and running everything, but I really try to use the employees," Smith said. "On communications, we used fire and police chiefs, firefighters. They were the ones who made recommendations to the commissioners.

"That is how we do it because we want input from the outside. They are the ones who are going to have to use it. Lee Smith is not the one using the radio, it is the volunteer firefighters out there working a fire at three in the morning or the guy working a meth lab in the middle of the night for the Sheriff's Office -- they are the ones who need to decide and they did. I think using the committees has been very successful and good for us."

Smith said that every so often people tell him they know he is receiving complaints about the four-day week.

"I haven't received any," Smith said. "Staff said it was going to be tough. First you have to get accustomed to the 10-hour day, but then they liked having that day (Friday off) to get things done. From a service standpoint, I have not received one call (complaint) and if we (county) are going to get them we (in the manager's office) get them.

"People become accustomed to the hours that you are available."

Smith said he has had people tell him the county needs to conserve even more.

"We are doing almost everything we can," he said. "There is only so much you can do with old buildings. On vehicles we have an idling policy. We consolidated routes so there is not much left to do unless we park cars. We can't park deputies, when they get a call they have got to go."