First 4-day week nearly over

Published: Wednesday, October 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 12:54 a.m.

Late-afternoon runs to the vending machine or coffee shop are some ways Gainesville city employees are coping with the switch this week to four 10-hour days.

City commissioners voted to change the operating hours of city administrative buildings to Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. in an attempt to save money in a tight fiscal year.

By closing down four buildings — City Hall, Thomas Center, Old Library Building and the public works administrative offices — one day each week City Manager Russ Blackburn estimates the city will save $90,000 a year on energy alone.

Blackburn has said even greater savings could be realized through the city's vehicle fleet operating one less day each week.

The change took effect Monday and all departments in those buildings will be closed on Friday.

Additionally, the Community Redevelopment Agency, the 39th Avenue garage and compound, the Parks and Recreation administration office and the fire administration and training bureau will be closed on Fridays.

Citizens will still see code enforcement officers out working on Fridays, although the department will be closed, and building inspections will still take place on Fridays.

Jean Fiala, the deputy clerk of court, has been working a three-day/10-hour shift for a month already to ease the transition in getting items in for the city's notice of meetings.

"It's a little bit long day, but you have three-day weekends which more than makes up for it," Fiala said. "I think you can get more done because you're on a roll and you don't break it up."

For other employees the three-day weekend is no compensation.

"Different employees have different problems, different stories," said Roma Rollins, a ­buyer in the Budget and Finance Department. "There's people with children, and people in school, or who had planned to be in school, and now they can't change their schedule."

Rollins said for her it's a matter of getting used to the long hours.

Another employee described the shift as "a hardship."

The four-10 shift was approved as a one-year trial that could be abandoned if things don't go well.

The change does not impact Gainesville Regional Utilities, which is owned by the city but will maintain normal business hours.

The Thomas Center Galleries will operate Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The Ironwood Golf Course and the pools will be open seven days a week depending on season, as will the recreation centers.

Regional Transit System administration maintains the hours of Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Megan Rolland can be reached at 338-3104 or

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