A Gilbert town official recently sent us an e-mail with a "signature" at the bottom that read:
"Beginning July 11, 2011, Gilbert will offer extended customer service hours for most Town services, of 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday - Thursday..."
In government-speak, though, "extended" hours also means a lot a fewer hours -- on Fridays or weekends, anyway.
Gilbert's one of many U.S. cities adopting a "four-10" work week in an effort to save money. The town's council voted unanimously in January for the new schedule. Some offices are already working the shorter week.
Employees, whose pay generally exceeds that of the typical Gilbert resident, and some members of the public might benefit. But downsides include the impact on employees with children and, of course, the folks who occasionally need to visit the town offices on Friday or weekends.
The police records or
public works department, for instance, both now offer Friday and weekend hours. That changes next week. (See update below).
Emergency service providers, garbage collectors, court worker and some other department employees will still work Fridays.
We asked Tami Ryall, assistant town manager, whether such departments were busy on weekends and what the impact might be on customers. She said she'd get back to us last week, but never did.
Collin DeWitt, town manager, didn't return a phone call -- and it's not even Friday yet.
UPDATE: DeWitt returns call, explains benefits of new work week.