Beginning March 2, Mesa will switch to a four-day, 10-hour workweek, which is a growing trend among municipalities to keep employee morale high in light of layoffs and a tightened city budget.
The idea is to maximize resources, Natalie Lewis, Mesa's special projects manager, told the City Council Thursday. Not every department will be closed on Fridays. Police and fire and essential utility departments will remain open, as will parks, arts and cultural facilities and the city libraries.
Residents will still get their garbage and recycling pick-ups. What will be affected are administrative services, including applications for permits and licenses. For that, city services will offer extended work hours Monday to Thursday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
In Arizona, Queen Creek, Buckeye, Avondale, Fountain Hills and Payson have switched to the four-day system, according to a city report.
Councilman Dennis Kavanaugh said the schedule would hurt city employees who are single parents, for instance, as well as add overtime costs. Extended hours also won't quite help residents, Kavanaugh said, pointing out that even if the city office stays open till 6 p.m., that isn't enough time for someone who gets off work at 5 p.m. to have enough time leftover to get their work done in the Mesa office.
Of the 2,300 civilian city employees, 700 work on a four-day schedule already. These exclude sworn public safety officers, who are not part of this plan.
In an internal city survey, 72 percent of 1,400 employees who responded approved of the proposed new work schedule.
The new schedule will be monitored for service levels and employee adjustment. If it doesn't work, the schedule could be revisited, officials said.