Do savings curtail effective services?

| 22 Feb 2012 | 08:04

    Four-day municipal work week doesn’t cut it with some Vernon residents, By Jennifer Knocha Vernon — The four-day work week is an idea that is spreading all over the country. It’s supposed to save money, make employees happier and raise productivity. In Utah, it’s the law; every state employee has a 10-hour-a-day, four-day work week. But is it working in Vernon Township? Municipal staff have been observing a four-day work week as of Monday, Nov. 3, 2008. Offices are open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5:15. The plan was to save money on energy. Resident Sally Rinker doesn’t think it’s been helpful and she stood up at the Thursday, Feb. 26 town council meeting to say so. “This has not been a beneficial service to the regular users of the building. We out here don’t see the benefit at all.” Rinker, a local real estate developer, said she has heard complaints from contractors, builders and other local businesspeople that the new four-day schedule, combined with holidays and various employees’ personal days off, has made working within the township difficult. “We want to bring development into the town, but when people come to do business here, they find closed doors. It gives a negative picture of the town.” A second look Council member Valerie Seufert said she had also heard complaints about the shortened work week, as did council member Richard W Carson. Carson also cited the recent President’s Day holiday, when a combination of weekend and holiday time kept the building closed for five days straight. “It’s just too long in a town this size,” he said. According to township manager Melinda Carlton, the arrangement made with the union says that the shortened work week program is to go on for six months, and then an analysis and evaluation will be made of the savings and its effect. Rinker said she would like to see something happen sooner and after some debate, Carlton agreed to look into an earlier evaluation.