Workers at Wellington’s village hall will return to a five-day work week if the Wellington Village Council keeps the recommendation in its preliminary budget approved Tuesday that would provide an additional $100,000 to finance the change.
Wellington switched several years ago to a four-day work week as a cost-saving measure. Staff members still work 40 hours a week, but work longer days Monday through Thursday.
Village Manager Paul Schofield said that only the village hall staff is recommended to return to the five-day week because it has been shown that some departments perform more efficiently on a four-day week.
“When we went to a four-day week, not everyone went to a four-day week,” Schofield said. “There are certain parts of the operation that are 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they will stay that way. There are other parts of the operation — principally maintenance and public works — that we do not intend to take back to a five-day week because they are actually more productive on their four-day schedule. What we do plan is to take just this building and the people who work here back to a five-day work week.”
Schofield said he looked at returning village hall to a straight, five-day-a-week, eight-hour work schedule at the council’s suggestion.
“For some departments, that will work because they are relatively small,” he said. “It is really just this building and the people the public has a regular conversation with.”
Councilman Matt Willhite favored the limited return to a five-day work week.
“In my conversations with Mr. Schofield, I have suggested maybe a hybrid where some people are four days and some are five, but we will allow customer service five days a week,” Willhite said. “Whatever the cost is, it has to be worthwhile.”
Willhite said he currently sees people in the building working on Fridays although the door is not open. “The customers come [on Friday] and see people working in the building, they see cars in the parking lot, but they can’t get in,” he said. “I appreciate the idea and the thought process of opening some customer service.”
Willhite pointed out that there are some county agencies on a four-day work week who are off on Friday and want to come to Wellington to do business but are not able.
“I appreciate the aspect of being available to our customers on Friday,” he said. “In fact, Mr. Schofield has shown that it will not deter any of our services. It will continue to accentuate the opportunities for our residents.”
Schofield said that there would still be an overall savings of about $500,000 per year realized from a four-day work week, although he was proposing an additional $100,000 per year to keep village hall open five days.
Councilman Howard Coates said they had discussed the savings from a four-day work week almost four years ago when they made the change.
“I concur with Councilman Willhite on going back to a five-day work week, certainly with respect to the customer service aspect,” Coates said. “There is an added cost of going back to the five-day work week at some levels, but at another level, we’re providing another day of service to our citizens. I know there are citizens who will be happy to see us go back to a five-day work week so they can do business with the village on Fridays.”