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10:34 PM Mon, Nov. 12th

Prescott Valley Council approves 4-day workweek

PRESCOTT VALLEY - A four-day workweek and other measures to cut employee costs will go into effect by Nov. 1 for town government.

The Town Council voted unanimously Thursday to approve recommendations from a committee of employees to achieve Town Manager Larry Tarkowski's goal of cutting employee costs by 5 percent. Tarkowski recommended the measures because town revenues have dipped amid a continuing national recession.

The council vote followed a presentation by Human Resources Director Danielle Gersper, who had met with the employees.

The employees voted for a four-day workweek, which would reduce their hours from 40 to 38 per week, according to Gersper.

The four-day workweek will apply to three floors of the Civic Center. The Magistrate Court on the first floor, the library - located in a new building - and the Police Department will not observe the four-day workweek, Tarkowski said. However, the court and library will observe a furlough one day a month, and the Police Department will go to a flexible furlough for employees.

"It's kind of a department-by-department thing," Mayor Harvey Skoog said after the meeting about the furloughs. The council approved a resolution to cut costs without discussion, a week after council members reviewed the proposal during a work/study meeting.

Tarkowski said maintaining customer service is the intent behind keeping a five-day workweek at the Police Department.

The cut in hours also exempts about 70 sworn officers who work at the Police Department, Gersper has said.

Gersper said before the meeting that the cut in hours and furloughs could exceed the 5 percent cost saving that Tarkowski initially broached with town employees Oct. 5. She said a 5 percent cut in employee costs could save the town government $250,000 in the current fiscal year, which concludes June 30, 2010.

In other matters, the council voted unanimously to award a contract to B. Markham Contracting Co. of Phoenix for $319,000 to build the Bison Lane multiuse path from Lake Valley Elementary School to the library/Civic Center complex. Public Works Director Norm Davis said construction is expected to begin Nov. 1 and finish by early January.

The council also appointed Keith Burley and Ben Harper to additional two-year terms on the Planning and Zoning Commission.