AZTEC — San Juan County is preparing to have many of its employees switch to a four-day workweek.
Commissioners unanimously voted earlier this month to switch several county departments to four, 10-hour workdays Monday through Thursday. Those departments would be closed on Friday.
Commissioners are expected to approve a transition date of Sept. 1, said County Operations Officer Mike Stark.
Stark said the county researched other governments, including the city of Aztec, that made the switch to four-day workweeks and found it can result in taxpayer savings, better efficiency and improved employee morale.
The county's executive and assessor's offices, and the legal, information technology, finance, purchasing and human resources departments will be making the switch, Stark said. Those departments and offices will be open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
The treasure's office will be open four-days a week most of them time, except for during tax season, Stark said.
And after hearing concerns from the real estate agencies that it would be an inconvenience to not have access to the clerk's office on Fridays, the county chose to leave the clerk's office open on Friday.
Theresa McBee, the president of the San Juan County Board of Realtors, said filing paperwork at the clerk's office is the final step in closing a deal on a home.
Had the clerk's office gone to four days a week, "I think it would have been an inconvenience and we would have had to deal with it," she said.
The detention center, juvenile services, alternative sentencing, fire department, parks facilities and sheriff's office also won't be affected by the decision to switch more employees to four days a week.
Commission Chairman Scott Eckstein said he voted for the change in work schedules as a "one-year experiment." He said the county could switch back to a normal workweek if problems arise.
He said in the next year he'll be looking for feedback from citizens and employees to determine if the scheduling will continue.
But he thinks the change in hours will benefit San Juan County residents.
"The citizens are the most important thing to me, and this looks like a way to better serve the public," Eckstein said. "If somebody has business with the county they can take care of it on the way to work instead of having to take time off."
Stark said the idea to switch to a four-day week was broched during a county budget meetings because it can save costs. The county is expecting utility bills will decrease by about $50,000 because of the switch.
Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.