State senator calls for four-day workweek

By The West Virginia Record | Apr 19, 2006

Billy Wayne Bailey

CHARLESTON -- State Senator Billy Wayne Bailey (D-Wyoming) submitted a letter to Gov. Joe Manchin on April 19 asking him to consider initiating a 10-hour, four-day workweek for state employees.

Pursuing the same request he made twice last year, Bailey, D-Wyoming, stressed that this change could save employees and their families money, considering rising gasoline prices that are expected to reach $3 per gallon this summer.

"Allowing state employees to travel to work one less day a week could save more than 20 percent in gasoline expenditures," Bailey, the Senate Majority Whip, said. "That can make a significant difference for employees and their families who are on tight budgets and have seen little or no increases in their salaries."

To ensure that all offices would remain open each day of the business week, this proposal would allow employees to work staggered days. In addition, it would allow offices to remain open for longer hours each day -- a move Bailey believes would enhance services for the public.

"My proposal to extend office hours would increase citizens' access to their government, since there are many instances when working people are unable to visit state offices during normal business hours." Bailey said. "Therefore, it is my hope that Governor Manchin gives this request his full attention and seriously considers implementing this cost-saving, service-enhancing policy."

Lara Ramsburg, spokeswoman for Manchin, said the governor's hallmark is and always has been service.

"The governor's top goal has and always has been service to the taxpayers of West Virginia," she said. "When he became Secretary of State, one of the first things he did was extend hours of that office to better serve residents."

Ramsburg said if such ideas makes sense, the administration would consider it. She cited the Department of Forestry as one agency that has adjusted its schedule in such a manner.

"But we have to be responsible in meeting needs," she said. "We do need to look at ways to cut costs in state government, but we have certain departments -- such as the State Police -- that just can't shorten their workweek."

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