4-day work week shot down for Montcalm County Drain Commission office

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 11:33 am on Tuesday, April 23, 2013

STANTON — Employees of the Montcalm County Drain Commission office will continue to work eight hours per day, five days per week.

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners voted 8-1 on Monday not to begin the process of granting Drain Commissioner Sandy Raines’ request to change her office hours to four days per week, 10 hours per day.

Commissioner Tom Lindeman of Greenville cast the lone vote in support of Raines’ proposal. He did not give an explanation why.

Commissioner Steve DeWitt of Coral said a four-day work week would likely save money and generate more efficiency.

“I am a large supporter of the 10-hour work day,” DeWitt said. “Personally, I think it should be our national standard. However, it sounded like other (county) union members were of the opinion that they had already asked for the same thing and were denied. Someone said if one office was allowed to do this, then they would file a grievance. I would rather see department heads get together and do an all-or-nothing thing. I am supportive of it, but it might cause some problems.”

Commissioner John Johansen of Montcalm Township agreed.

“I just cannot see us closing down from a five-day work week,” Johansen said. “I think we have a real concern that needs some review before we make a firm decision as to what direction we’re going to go in. The impact to the whole county has to be reviewed, in my opinion.”

Commissioner Ron Retzloff of Crystal Township reiterated the concerns he stated at the Finance & Personnel Committee meeting on April 8.

“When one office is closed and another one is open, people are going to be confused,” Retzloff said. “I think it’s a confusing thing. To me, it’s all or none. Either everybody’s going to be on 10-hour four days or nobody’s going to be on it. If we’re going to be here for our constituents, then we should be here for five days instead of four.”

Montcalm County Drain Commissioner Sandy Raines

Raines originally proposed going to a four-day work week in order to work more closely with the Road Commission for Montcalm County, which works four days per week, 10 hours per day during the summer construction season. Raines said her employees do a lot of field work, as does the Road Commission. She said she wanted to try a four-day workweek during construction season this year to 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.

In other news, the Board of Commissioners granted Raines’ request to hire a seasonal part-time employee to work for her office for $10 per hour no more than 35 hours per week. The seasonal employee will not have health insurance, but will be covered by the county’s worker compensation program.

The Drain Commission office was able to utilize prison crew members in the past, 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.

For more information about the available job, visit montcalm.org online.

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