Glo. Twp. plans 4-day workweek to cut energy costs
By MEG HUELSMAN Courier-Post Staff June 3, 2008

GLOUCESTER TWP. The township plans to condense its work week from five to four days to save on rapidly rising energy costs and consolidate services in times of economic uncertainty.


"We feel this is much more efficient, and that we'll be able to provide better services," Mayor Cindy Rau-Hatton said Monday. "Friday is our least busy day when we have the least number of residents coming into the building."

By shutting down the municipal building, half of the recreational building and the public works department, the township expects to cut its utility bill by at least 15 percent, business administrator Tom Cardis said.

The changes are set to go into effect June 30, and will affect about 30 employees.

The township operated on a Monday through Friday schedule until 1981 when, following the energy crisis and the administration of former President Jimmy Carter, officials switched to a four-day work week to save on energy costs.

In 1996, the township switched back to a five-day work week, but instead of fully staffing the offices, Mayor Sandra Love split the shifts.

Half the township employees worked Monday through Thursday, while the other half worked Tuesday through Friday on extended 8 a.m. to 5:40 p.m. hours.

However, because of drastic reductions in state aid and the rising costs associated with fuel and energy, the township has been unable to maintain staffing levels.

"We're having trouble keeping the offices open when people go out to lunch or take a break on Mondays and Fridays," Rau-Hatton said.

The state cut about $625,000 from its annual municipal aid to the township, and officials expect that they will not receive extraordinary aid.

Last year, the township received $500,000 in extraordinary aid, and the year before, the township was awarded $750,000.

Nearly a dozen positions are open, Rau-Hatton said, including eight in the public works department. Some Fridays, when many employees take off, only three or four workers are available, she said.

The township plans to sit down with the three unions involved in the negotiations on Wednesday.

The police department and emergency dispatchers would not be included in the revised scheduling plans.

Reach Meg Huelsman at (856) 251-3345 or mhuelsman@courierpostonline.com