County considers 4-day work week

Not everyone sold on longer days

Staff reporter

A four-day work week?

Fewer miles of road projects?

Reduction of personnel?

Marion County Commission grappled with spiraling fuel and other consumer prices Monday related to the business of running the county.

Marion County Commissioner Randy Dallke said the commission's task should be finding ways for each county department to cut consumption of fuel and utilities, particularly the road department.

Commissioner chairman Bob Hein said he thought employees would support a four-day work week.

Acting county public works director John Summerville disagreed.

"The consensus in my department is not to go with a four-day work week," Summerville said. He continued that working later in the day would be counter-productive because of the heat and many of his employees also farm in the afternoons which would not be possible if they were working 10-hour days.

Currently road and bridge crew members work from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. If the hours were extended, they would work until 5:30 p.m. or start the work day earlier.

The comment was made that Kansas Department of Transportation and other counties have gone to four, 10-hour days as a cost-cutting measure.

Summerville said he could see the cost-savings benefit but not the benefits of longer days.

Commissioner Dan Holub said a four-day work week had benefits but not necessarily every office could be closed one day a week but agreed the commission needed to do something to offset the rising costs of operating the departments.

Summerville was given the task of researching the impact rising fuel costs are having on the road and bridge budget.

In other business:

— Rural residents who want dust control probably will have to pay for it.

Summerville reported that he checked with neighboring counties and found that most don't provide any services. One county did provide magnesium chloride and charged the residents a minimum of $560 to apply it to roads.

Sand costs the county $10.50 per ton. With a load being 25 tons, each load costs $270.

Summerville suggested residents hire a private contractor and then the county would maintain the roads with sand.

No decision was made.

— The commission approved the renting of a generator by county lake superintendent Steve Hudson for the Bluegrass Festival June 21 at the county lake.

A Westar Energy representative told Hudson it would cost the county $5,000 for an extension of electrical service needed for the concert. Hudson reported he had contacted various companies and found a generator with Central Power Systems of Wichita for $284 per day. The generator would be picked up on a Friday and returned on a Sunday but the county would only be charged for one day.

USD 408 also will allow the lake superintendent to use an acoustic backboard.

— A maintenance building at the lake, owned by Marion County Improvement District #2, will be purchased by the county for $25,000. The purchase was planned in the 2008 budget.

— Hudson also reported that an older building that is used as a repair shop needed to have asbestos siding removed and new siding installed. The expenditure would be planned in the 2009 budget.

Cost estimates for insulation of the lake hall have been obtained with grants being sought. Grants also are being considered for concrete piers for handicapped fishermen.

— Dallke requested a 10-minute executive session with Hudson for personnel. There were no decisions when the meeting returned to open session.

— Summerville asked for a 10-minute executive session to discuss personnel. When the meeting reconvened, there were no decisions.

— Holub asked for a five-minute executive session for personnel with no decisions when the meeting reconvened. The commission then asked Summerville to return to the meeting and the commission and Summerville returned to an executive session for 10 minutes to discuss personnel issues. There were no decisions when the meeting reconvened.