Why go four days in the first place?
By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 30, 2009 1:46 PM
Originally driven by soaring fuel and utility costs, the four-day workweek implemented for most county offices in August, is estimated to have saved the county more than 12 percent on those bills.
Most county offices are open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and are closed on Fridays.
"It all came about looking for alternate ways to save money, trying to reduce utility costs, trying to reduce fuel usage, putting in place better routing for employees," said County Manager Lee Smith.
It also was argued that the extended days would provide more time for working people to handle any business with the county before they had to go to work or after they left work.
Additionally, Smith said, the change was made to help employee morale, particularly those at the Health Department and Depart-ment of Social Services.
"Those caseloads are growing at a tremendous rate and have for the last several years for Medicaid and those in need of health services," Smith said. "I think it is a morale issue, trying to find ways to benefit employees.
"We are trying to create a different habit, the way our people do business. I knew it was going to make supervisors more accountable and make all employees more accountable because when you do a 10-hour day it is tougher in the beginning. Once they got adjusted they have said it has really assisted in their personal lives and that they have real down time. I think that is a benefit as well as a try to reduce cost."
The landfill and convenience sites are closed on Wednesdays. That day was selected because it was normally the slowest day of the week for the solid waste department.
The landfill hours are 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
All convenience sites are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Courthouse and county administrative building off-ices continue to remain open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Animal control is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the third Saturday of each month. When the office is closed, there is always an officer who has been designated on-call for emergency
Day reporting is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to noon on Friday. Services on Aging is open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.
As agreed to by commissioners, the four-day week was to be a year-long experiment with hopes of implementing Phase 2 Friday closings later in 2008. That second phase has yet to be implemented and appears to have been tabled for the time being.
Other money-saving measures implemented by the county include a no-idling policy for all county vehicles, and more recently a reduction in the number of vehicles being driven back and forth from home by employees. Employees also have been told to turn off lights and computers when not in use, and the county has purchased laptops for county inspectors to enable them to file information without having to travel back and from forth from the office to the field.
Other steps have included a freeze on capital projects and on new hires, with the exception of shift and emergency workers.
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