Utah legislators worry that the governor forgot a few things when he rushed state employees into a new four-day workweek.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle questioned Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s new "Working 4 Utah" program during the Legislature's monthly interim meetings on Wednesday.
Utah Department of Human Resources Director Jeff Herring said the program really got its footing in July, and was rolled out on Aug. 4. The quick turnaround proves that not all good policy comes from years of bureaucracy, he said.
"I think the fact that we gave ourselves a month to implement a project is just fantastic," Herring told the Government Operations Interim Committee on Wednesday. "We could have taken two years and done this and planned, and still been where we are."
Some Utah lawmakers believe a little bureaucracy might have helped.
Rep.Neil Hansen, D-Ogden, is worried about state employees who get paid on Fridays who need to pay bills to state agencies. "If they've got to wait the whole weekend to get things taken care of, then they may be in violation of some laws on the books."
Senate President John Valentine, R-Provo, fears employees will eventually start working four 8-hour shifts, with people coming in a little late and leaving a little early.
"How do we assure that people are putting in the full 10-hour days, because 10 hours a day are pretty grueling for people," Valentine said.
Most state employees are now working four 10-hour days a week as part of Huntsman's new "Working 4 Utah" program.
The one-year pilot program is expected to save taxpayers "tens of millions" of dollars in energy costs, said Lisa Roskelley, the governor's spokeswoman. Not only will 1,000 of the state's more than 2,100 buildings shut down on Fridays, workers won't be on the roads, she said
Several lawmakers are concerned service levels will drop.
"The normal 8-to-5 worker would not really have a benefit with this change in schedule," said Rep. Ron Bigelow, R-West Valley.
Had the program been delayed a little, several of these issues could have been worked out.
But since that didn't happen, Valentine said the Legislature may have to come together to solve the problems of statutory holidays, filing deadlines and levels of service that may require legislation.
Legislators had little or no input in the decision-making process on the "Working 4 Utah" program."Is there any reason why the governor elected not to include the Legislature in the decision-making process?" asked Rep. Lori Fowlke, R-Orem.
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