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Utah

Gov. Gary Herbert saves state employees' four-day workweek with veto

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  • Walt Nicholes Orem, UT
    March 31, 2011 6:31 p.m.

    With each passing day I am increasingly less impressed with Governor Herbert.

    I look forward to combining my feelings with those of others at the next state convention.

  • DeltaFoxtrot West Valley, UT
    March 31, 2011 3:56 p.m.

    The reduction in commuter traffic (and associated emissions) alone was reason enough to keep the 4 day workweek. I wish more companies would get on board with this.

  • Trueman Draper, Utah
    March 31, 2011 3:39 p.m.

    Re: Williary.

    I am confused with your comments, are you suggesting this country become communist, in the alternative to capitalizm which "ism" pays your government salary? Please help me understand how you think all private small business run both by men and women in the country, and who employees 75% of the work force, and which companys and employees pays 90% of the taxes....are all crooks and dishonest? Please advise.

  • DY13 Orem, UT
    March 31, 2011 1:37 p.m.

    I voted for Herbert but don't like the picture I see emerging. If its anything to do with education, illegals or state workers he's their champion. If its about the rest of us who pay all the bills then it doesn't matter. We need someone who is willing to represent the majority of Utahan's, not just the special interest voting blocs. Herbert needs to go. Luckily he's up for election in 2012. Goodbye Gary. Soon, we will shorten your work week....

  • Uncle Gadianton Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 31, 2011 12:46 p.m.

    @Utahshellgame:

    "Many State employees roll in around 9 am and leave well before 6 pm."

    I challenge that statement. Please provide the facts to back it up.

    @Cactus Pete:

    Most government employees can retire at 30 years, not 20. Public safety employees (fire and police) can retire after 20 years, but they usually pay a higher percentage of their salary towards retirement.

  • williary Kearns, UT
    March 31, 2011 12:42 p.m.

    re: Trueman

    Good point. Perhaps Government should be privitized? Salaries skyrocket, benefits get a little worse. But more importantly, exactly what I want with my tax dollars is putting them in the hands of people whose only responsibility is to pad shareholders pockets. Makes complete sense. Perhaps one of the numerous private companies who employees illegal immigrants at slave labor prices? Perhaps one of the private companies who fudges the books? Perhaps one of the private companies who hide money oversees to avoid taxes (GE).

  • williary Kearns, UT
    March 31, 2011 12:39 p.m.

    re: Cactus Pete

    You're correct. Most state employees chose to work for the state knowing that their base salary would be substantially lower than private sector, due to the fact that years ago the benefits were terrific. But each Legislative session slowly pecks away at those benefits. It is becoming harder and harder for state departments to find really good employees with the benefit packages getting less desirable, while pay is still awful.

    I find it amusing that Utahn's are so suspisous of Governments, yet are perfectly ok with their state forcing out good employees, and being saddled with a lower quality workforce. Is that really who you want looking after your tax dollars?

    And yes, the majority of state workers work their 10.5-11 hour day from start to finish. Just as the majority of private sector workers work their 5 day, 40-hour jobs from start to finish. Similar minorities in both let productivity slide, either at the end of a 10 hour day, or after noon on Friday.

    Having worked both, do you realize the scrutiny state workers are under 24-7? Much more big-brother keeping tabs on you than private sector.

  • Trueman Draper, Utah
    March 31, 2011 11:03 a.m.

    I hope there is a serious conservative challenger to Herbert when he runs for re-election. Remember Bennett. Time for another tea party, things have got to change or it will continue to get worse for us who have to pay the bills in this country, which bills include paying for all those government workers overpaid wages and retirement.

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    March 31, 2011 9:54 a.m.

    Don't let anyone say Herbert doesn't have a backbone to veto anything. He just doesn't have the backbone to veto anything that takes courage and leadership on.

  • Cactus Pete Centerville, UT
    March 31, 2011 9:29 a.m.

    @williary

    You fail to mention why state workers chose government jobs where they make 20-30% less than in the private sector and get to retire after 20-years.

    Do you really think state employees are giving 100% during the last two hours of each 4-day work week?

  • williary Kearns, UT
    March 31, 2011 8:43 a.m.

    @Red Smith

    You sir/madaam, are very inaccurate. But facts are just pesky little things that get in the way of a good ole rant, aren't they.

    Having worked for both the State of Utah, and private sector jobs in Utah, you really don't know what you're talking about. Just repeating some sound bites from Fox News I'd imagine.

    First, take a look around your office come Friday after lunch. If you think productivity on Friday afternoon, working a 5-day week, is anywhere close to it is the rest of the week, you need to open your eyes and look around you. People leave early for the weekend, or just check out mentally for the weekend. But I guess that's not a big deal considering they make 3-4x more for the same job as a employee does!

    I'd wager every state worker would love to be "retrained" in the private sector. They'd love to get paid what they are worth, on average they make about 20-30% less than private sector employees. And their benefits get worse each year as the Legislature meets.

  • gizmo33 St. George, Utah
    March 31, 2011 8:37 a.m.

    all them federal employees can take them overpaid so-called jobs which is paid by us ( the taxpayer ) not the state and get up and go to work 5 days a week like everybody else. after all how hard is their job when it take 5 people to stand around and watch 1 guy operate a shovel and if the state wants to save money they can shut down the capital building because nothing is being done in there except setting up tee time at tax payers expense of course and maybe if the state and county and city employees would drive their own cars to work and home like the rest us the state could save money to . why was a state employee allowed to take a goverment truck to go fishing ?

  • Why oh why In Utah, UT
    March 31, 2011 8:27 a.m.

    @Red Smith

    Actually the state doesn't require any business to set what hours it keeps, the business owners themselves do that. If they feel they are making money, they keep their doors open, if not they close.

    And Forbes magazine ranked Utah as the #1 state for business in October, so I guess there are a lot of companies out there that want to relocate here.

    And just like the private sector employees, state employees put in 40 hour weeks for a regular wage, just over the course of 4 days instead of 5.

    But never let facts get in the way of a good argument.

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    March 31, 2011 8:04 a.m.

    I hope to help veto his re election!!!

  • BoomerJeff Saint George, UT
    March 31, 2011 7:43 a.m.

    The Governor has lost my vote because he did not veto the guest worker bill thereby spitting in the faces of the hundreds of thousands of legal Utah residents who are unemployeed or underemployeed and can't find work. Why add more people to the labor pool with this bill. He is vetoing the wrong bills and my voice will be heard in the next election.

  • utahsshellgame South Jordan, UT
    March 31, 2011 6:51 a.m.

    The State offices are open between 7 am and 6 pm, but not too many government workers are there between those hours. Many State employees roll in around 9 am and leave well before 6 pm. It would be interesting to see if anyone in news media wanted to check out the parking lots at the State offices, and it would be quite clear what is happening.

    Don't forget, State employees are also allowed to exercise a half hour per day on the taxpayers dime.

    Most State workers are paid any hourly wage, but do not punch a time clock, and their hours are only kept track of by their supervisor. Many supervisors also lack a work ethic...

    I saw this first hand as a former State employee!

  • Red Smith American Fork, UT
    March 31, 2011 6:26 a.m.

    Gary vetoing a 5 day work week for state workers shows that state employees have too much power. State workers need to be re-trained in the private sector where folks work 5 and 6 days a week. How about the grocery store, gas station, and UTA going to a 4 day work week (closed Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)?

    The state expects the private sector to be open 5 - 7 days a week to maximize the payment of state taxes, but the state won't work a full week. Utah is losing is work ethic. Why should I work a full week, the state won't.

    A state that won't work a full week is not serious about un-employment or under employment.

    What business wants to re-locate to Utah the state leader promotes a 4 day work week. "Utah - We're not open for business 1 of 5 business day. Come do business here where we take Fridays off."

    What happens in those last 2 hours after 8 hours of hard work? Nothing. Truth be told, Utah could cut 1/3 of its employees and never notice it.

    I can't vote for Gary Herbert again.

  • Norm Salt Lake City, UT
    March 31, 2011 6:25 a.m.

    Four day work week has merit but Government departments who allow this should be accountiable to make sure the people are working the ten hours required. I know people involved in the program who do not work the required hours. This is not a major issue I was told but should be required the departmens monitor abd keep accurate records. Another issue that may be a problem is the employees allowed to work from home. How do you monitor what they do, are they required to turn in work accomplishments. I know of one that does a exceptional job from home. I get a response when needed in a timely manner but then I have been told of another one who works from home who's job very difficult to do from home. This same person turns in for overtime. How all of it works I don't know. For me it raises a flag. I can't say if it is bad or good. Monitoring the results critical if the work being completed.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    March 31, 2011 6:16 a.m.

    Yet there are other pieces of stupid, special interest driven legislation that is passed but not vetoed. Pity. It's a long list this year.

  • slugworth Hyrum, UT
    March 31, 2011 4:27 a.m.

    I work for a living. I'm not a state employee. Count me among those who think Herbert (finally) did something RIGHT by vetoing this.

    When I have to take care of business that involves government offices, the extended hours mean I don't have to take a day off work to do it. That is a great thing!

  • Considering Stockton, UT
    March 30, 2011 11:34 p.m.

    Has anyone else noticed how very SLC area freeways are on Friday's now that most State employees are not working that day?

    On the flip side, I used to take a Friday off from time to time to enjoy a 3 day weekend. Most places I went on Friday--from the grocery store to entertainment venues--were fairly empty when I did this. Not so anymore. Friday is as busy a day as Saturday; I've changed to taking Monday off when I want a 3 day weekend.

    I don't know if the 4 day week saves any money. I'm not even sure if extended hours in the evenings is better or worse than having State offices open on Friday.

    But I'm pretty well convinced we've got WAAAY too many people working for the State of Utah.

    If nothing else, shift the working hours of State employees or move their offices out of SLC and see how quickly congested roads get a lot of extra capacity.

    Some old line about "swarms of officers eating out our substance" comes to mind.

  • Woodyff Mapleton, UT
    March 30, 2011 11:10 p.m.

    I guess we have a Gov that will not listen to the people, it is time for him and our state representatives go! I can't think of one thing they have done that is not against the will of the majority. They have pandered to every special interest group and failed to represent the people. Vote them all out!

  • Emophiliac Vernal, UT
    March 30, 2011 8:53 p.m.

    All I know is that I have yet to think 'it's Friday. Thank heavens the State offices are closed!'...

  • stevo123 slc, ut
    March 30, 2011 8:50 p.m.

    Ernest Bass,Mike Noel went to the wall to support hb477, his leading the call on this bill is also very short sighted. Time for a change.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    March 30, 2011 8:16 p.m.

    Mike Noel had no right to change it up based on the fact that it was saving tax payers money, the public was in favor of the shortened work week and so are employees.
    This was a good decision by the Guv.
    The fact that Noel wanted to change it without the funding to do so proves once again how short-sighted he is. He's all about special interests.

  • alternate Salt Lake City, UT
    March 30, 2011 7:13 p.m.

    This was a poorly researched and written bill. The sponsor sold a bill of goods to the others. To passing a bill without any concern for funding is extremely poor judgement.

    Personally, I believe this was the result of a few power brokers who threw their weight around to help their friends.

    Some of this same people are the ones who went after Credit Unions to adledgely help their banker friends a few years back. That bill passed but Utah loss because the CU's went Federal. The power brokers and their buds cost Utah millions. Thanks guv for stopping the another power run

  • brdahoff Lindon, UT
    March 30, 2011 6:27 p.m.

    At least some people seem like they have their facts straight. It takes a good deal of ignorance to condemn state employees. The job of a State employee is to help the people of this state. And those with "real jobs" should be careful who they condemn. It may well be that you will rely on the help of a State agency in the future (more likely than not, really).
    Veto'ing this bill was a good move. Accessibility won't be fixed for the working man by reducing hours and putting State employees on the same 8-5 schedule as everyone else. Did you ever call in at lunch during the 5-day era? Good luck getting someone. And the cost savings are substantial.
    Please open your minds, stop listening to corrupt politically motivated figures and do an hour of research. You'll find arguments against the 4-10 week and state employees have no substance.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 30, 2011 5:57 p.m.

    If, as facts-r-stubborn points out, the sate saved a bundle of cash by cutting back services to 4 days, then why not save even more by cutting them back to a single day?

    In fact, eliminate about half the busy work and state mandated permission slips and the like that require legions of state employees to show up and shuffle papers and frustrate taxpayers. That would save even more.

    But, if we insist on demanding citizens comply with the Byzantine maze of bureaucratic regulations, then we really should make it easier for "customers" to navigate the maze. Perhaps more on line service will balance out a cut back in office hours, but the better solution is to eliminate the requirements wherever possible.

  • jim l West Jordan, UT
    March 30, 2011 5:50 p.m.

    wish he had vetoed hb 116.

  • Trueman Draper, Utah
    March 30, 2011 5:41 p.m.

    Try finding one government employee who can be reached by even the second telephone call or cold visit between the hours of 7 and 8 AM, and also between the hours of 5 and 6 PM. Why, they have their caller ID, voice mail, and since they racked up enough sick and vacation pay, they only need to work 32 hours in a four day week. What a bunch of crap! The taxpayers who have to work real jobs for a living loses again. What's this country coming to.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 30, 2011 5:13 p.m.

    Re: JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt | 3:23 p.m. March 30, 2011

    Utahns had a chance to vote for his opponent, Democrat Peter Corroon, last November. Herbert won by a 2 to 1 margin, and Corroon didn't even carry Salt Lake County.

    I guess we didn't want the same philosophy in Utah that Obama has in Washington.

  • Lave American Fork, Utah
    March 30, 2011 4:39 p.m.

    So Tami and North Stream I am guessing that your schedule allows you to visit or call your government service provider at your discretion. I think this is really great for you. My schedule requires that I provide my employer my time during the hours of 8:00 am thru 5:00 pm. I am also in the service industry and as such have to maintain a presence from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. The cost of this service is of course passed on to the customer. The extra 2 hours in the 10 hour day give me the customer and tax payer the ability to conduct business without an increased cost for service as well as not requireing me to have to use my time off to conduct government business. However if you will contact your local rep and let them know that you are more than willing to pay the actuall cost of the covernment service you receive I am sure they will be more than willing to listen. I don't work in government but maybe we can cut those that do a break and show some support for the job they do.

  • chiefbrady Salt Lake City, UT
    March 30, 2011 4:33 p.m.

    Short of discovering a way to bring Utah 1,000,000 high paying jobs, I hope this Givenor (as in amnesty giver) is voted out next election.

  • facts_r_stubborn Kaysville, UT
    March 30, 2011 4:32 p.m.

    "Prior to the launch of the four-day workweek, Utah provided more than 800 services online. Citizens could renew their vehicle registration, create a business, receive unemployment assistance, pay their taxes and much more without ever visiting a brick-and-mortar state building or waiting in a line. These online services are also available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week."

    - The Council of State Governments - Knowledge Center

    "This is a win-win-win all the way around. It is a win for the citizens, who will continue to have extended service hours Monday through Thursday, and now access to the DMV and Drivers License Division on Fridays... It is a win for the states work force, with 82 percent of employees saying they want to see the program extended, and it is a win for the state and the taxpayers in terms of cost savings and other benefits.

    - Governor Gary Herbert

    Don't confuse the legislature with the facts, their minds are made up.

  • facts_r_stubborn Kaysville, UT
    March 30, 2011 4:23 p.m.

    Contrary to what our legislature thinks a majority of the public prefers the State 4-day work week.

    "Results indicated Utahns preferred the new work schedule. Sixty-two percent of the population thought the switch to a four-day workweek was a good idea, with another 11 percent had no opinion on the issue. Sixty percent indicated the extended operation hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. was a good thing, with another 29 percent indicating the extended service hours made no difference. Seventy-two percent of the population indicated the modified work schedule was a good way for the state to save money, with another 8 percent didnt specify."

    "The final question in the citizen survey asked if residents wanted Utah to continue with the current four-day workweek. Sixty-six percent wanted it to continue, while another 14 percent didnt specify. From these numbers, it was clear that the citizens believed the four-day work schedule was a benefit to the state and a good and innovative approach for government."

    - The Council of State Governments, quoting a Dan Jones Poll.

    Citizens don't like the 4 day? The opposite is true.

  • facts_r_stubborn Kaysville, UT
    March 30, 2011 4:16 p.m.

    "The state found that its compressed workweek resulted in a 13% reduction in energy use and estimated that employees saved as much as $6 million in gasoline costs. Altogether, the initiative will cut the state's greenhouse-gas emissions by more than 12,000 metric tons a year. And perhaps not surprisingly, 82% of state workers say they want to keep the new schedule."

    - Time Magazine

    "The state also has experienced other cost savings through the initiative. For example, state agencies reduced janitorial contracts, resulting in an annual savings of $250,000. Fleet services of state vehicles also saw a dramatic decrease in usage, resulting in a savings of $1.4 million for the year. While not all of the fleet savings can be directly attributed to the four-day workweek, it was a factor in the savings. Lastly, Utah experienced a significant decrease in overtime paid to employees. During the first year of the four-day workweek, overtime decreased by $4.1 million."

    - The Council of State Governments - Knowledge Center

  • Stephen In Utah, UT
    March 30, 2011 4:06 p.m.

    Actually it does save the government money, and the legislature passed the bill but refused to find funding to make it work.

    Why does every office need to stay open if through a realistic compromise, money can be saved.

    Also this was an intrusion on executive authority, the Utah constitution mandates that the governor is responsible for administration of state agencies and employees.

  • williary Kearns, UT
    March 30, 2011 4:01 p.m.

    Tami - Does your telephone not work from 7:00AM to 6:00PM, Monday thru Thursday?

    No offense, but people will find anything to complain about. If offices were still open Friday, but closed earlier and open later, you'd be complaining because you can't get ahold of someone when you get off work in the afternoon. Not to mention the most used service, DMV, is open on Friday at a few locations.

    The program has saved money. Not as much as hoped, but isn't something better than nothing at this point? Instead of having thousands of government employees commutting 5 days a week, those cars are off the roads. That's a positive. Not to mention how many cities and private companies followed Huntsman's lead. Many other states have also considered the policy.

    If the 4-day work week makes it difficult for anyone, it's the state employees who literally cannot make that phone call you can because they are at the office from 7-6, M-Th.

  • 22ozn44ozglass Southern Utah, UT
    March 30, 2011 3:47 p.m.

    I am disappointed. The 4 day work week saves the state little if any money in the key agencies that deal with the public on a daily basis. Huntsman unilaterally made the 4 day work week manditory without involving the legislators, and that did not go over well with some.

    This was not the bill to veto. Government employees who directly serve and work with the public, need to work a five day week just like the majority of adults do. If this were the private industry realm, I would say that the 4 day work week is very poor customer service.

    They will have problems with CPS services as there are some statuatory terms that have to be met regardless of what the Governor vetoed

  • NorthStream Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 30, 2011 3:38 p.m.

    Keeping the four day work week keeps Gov Herbert popular with governmental employees. It does not make him popular with the other Utah citizens. He really needs to be voted out in the next election.

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    March 30, 2011 3:23 p.m.

    Too bad he didn't have enough guts or leadership to vet HB477

  • Tami Herriman, UT
    March 30, 2011 3:21 p.m.

    Sorry, but no we have not grown accustomed to Mon-Thur work hours. I can't count how many times I have gone to make a phone call only to find that the office is closed because it is Friday. I hate it and it is not saving money! Why couldn't the guv have vetoes the GRAMA and guest worker bills instead?