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Push for 4 day work week falls short

Several months ago Seth Hastings, account administrator for the City of Trenton, made a presentation to the city commissioners showing the advantages of a four day work week.

Hastings explained that if the employees of the City of Trenton could work four 10 hour days each week it would help morale among the employees. During the meeting Hastings showed commissioners a PowerPoint presentation listing cost savings such as the electricity that would be saved if all the city departments including City Hall were closed every Friday. With the new plan, the 12 employees of the City would have been able to schedule their doctor’s appointments on Friday so they would not have to take time off from work, Hastings explained. The Trenton Police Department, which has three employees, would work a regular work week.

The four 10 hour day work week was expected to make the Public Works Department more efficient because once they were set up with all their equipment at a job they would have had a longer day to work before moving their equipment back to the Public Works yard.

After the presentation Mayor Glen Thigpen asked that the matter of a four day work week be rescheduled for the November meeting and be put on the meeting agenda so it could be voted on.

Hasting came before the Trenton City Commissioners during their Tuesday, Nov. 18, regular meeting to go over a 4/10 comparison chart he made for the commissioners pointing out the advantages of a 4/10 work week.

Commissioner Randy Rutter said he spoke to Mary Ellzey, who is the city manager in Chiefand, and she told him the 4/10 week was working out well in Chiefland. Rutter explained that when it first came up, he was against it, but after asking around he felt that it was not a bad idea. Commissioner Everritt Heaton also stated that he was in favor of 4/10 from the start. Heaton also suggested that the staff could try the 4/10 work week for a year and then the commissioners could revisit it.

The question of paid holidays came up and the commissioners were told that a paid holiday would be for 10 hours, currently it is for 8 hours. Commissioner Tim Kinsey said he was concerned that on a week with a Monday holiday City Hall would only be open three days. The mayor was also concerned about the service the citizens of Trenton would receive with City Hall only being open four days a week.

City Manager Taylor Brown said, “It’s a huge incentive for employees.”

During the discussion it was suggested that maybe City Hall should be closed on Mondays instead of Fridays but the staff said Mondays are their busiest days.

Heaton made the motion to change the City of Trenton’s work week from five 8 hour days to four 10 hour days and Randy Rutter seconded the motion. When the vote was taken Mayor Glen Thigpen and Commissioner Tim Kinsey voted against the motion and Commissioners Everritt  Heaton and Randy Rutter voted for it.

Mayor Thigpen said, “Commissioner Hellems, did you vote? Because I did not hear you.”

Commissioner Marcia Hellams said, “No I didn’t vote.”

First the mayor, then City Attorney David Lang explained to Commissioner Hellams that she would have to vote. Hellams stated that she did not want to vote  because she did not want to make anyone mad. In the end she voted no to the 4/10 work week which broke the tie and ended all discussion of a four day work week.

By Cindy Jo Ayers