STANTON — The Road Commission for Montcalm County works four 10-hour days per week during the summer construction season.
The Montcalm County drain commissioner is looking at doing the same in her office.
Drain Commissioner Sandy Raines attended Monday’s Montcalm County Finance & Personnel Committee meeting to ask permission to change her office hours to four days per week, 10 hours per day. Raines said she has met with Road Commission Director Mark Christensen to discuss how their offices can begin to work more closely together, “something we haven’t done in the past,” she noted.
“We’re actually going to work a lot more closely this year and the benefit would be that we would be on the same schedule as them,” she said. “Our work is similar. We work all winter putting projects together so that when construction season hits we’re out in the field.”
According to Raines, the majority of services her office provides is related to field work. She said her field workers only work five to seven hours per day in the field before they have to start loading up equipment. She thinks they can get more work done by working 10 hours per day four days per week.
Raines said the Drain Commission office in Gratiot County has four 10-hour days year round. Raines just wants to try it during construction season this year and see how it goes. She thinks the change would mean less time on the road with county vehicles, thus saving fuel costs; and less time in a non-busy office, thus saving computer and air conditioning costs.
“My office is geared toward field work,” she said. “We have very little foot traffic. We get one person in our office per week, if we’re lucky.”
Commissioner Ron Retzloff of Crystal was concerned that county offices having inconsistent hours would be confusing for people traveling to Stanton to conduct county business.
“I can see us having some problems with that,” he said. “If one office is going to be closed on a Friday, then they all should be closed on a Friday. People should understand that when they come to county buildings, if they come here and the building’s open, they should expect to be able to go to any office. I just don’t see one office being opened four days a week for a 10-hour shift while the other offices are opened five days a week for an eight-hour shift.”
Raines noted the Montcalm County Commission on Aging currently has a similar arrangement to what she is proposing.
“I’ll be out there, I’ll be on call, my number will be given out,” she said. “I’m just asking to try it this year to see how it went.”
Committee members voted to recommend the full board allow American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union members to discuss Raines’ proposal. Retzloff voted “no.”
In other news, Raines requested she be allowed to hire a seasonal part-time employee to work for her office for $10 per hour no more than 35 hours per week.
The Drain Commission office was able to utilize prison crew members for more than 20 years, but that service is no longer available. According to Raines, her office currently utilizes community service workers, which helps, but those people are not allowed to use power equipment.
The seasonal employee would not have health insurance, but would be covered by the county’s worker compensation program.
Committee members voted to recommend the full board allow Raines to hire a part-time seasonal employee.
The full board will meet on April 22.