Council approves 4-day summer work week at City Hall, Upper Valley traffic study, mall acquisition for NE terminal
by David Crowder
Posted on May 20, 2009
City Hall and some other city offices will go on a four-day work week from June 1 until Aug. 28 to gauge how much money can be saved and how the new schedule will affect the city services, El Paso City Council decided Tuesday.
The economy move is expected to save $55,000 in utility and fuel costs and will affect 2,221 employees. But it won’t include police, firefighters or public inspectors, the airport, zoo, Health Department, Municipal Courts, libraries or parks.
Under the new schedule, City Hall will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday through Friday with employees working slightly staggered, 10-hour days.
City Manager Joyce Wilson said the four-day schedule, which was proposed by her administration, recommended by a City Council committee and supported by 70 percent of city employees who answered a poll, could have a positive impact on moral.
The question is what affect it will have on the public and the delivery of city services, she said.
The city’s chief financial officer, Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria, said her office has been working a four-day schedule for some time and she has yet to see a reduction in productivity.
“I’m in favor if it,” city Rep. Emma Acosta said. “I think it will help employees. They wll have moretime with their families and longer weekends.”
In other action Tuesday, City Council:
-- Approved the recommendations of the $757,000 Upper Valley Traffic Study “as is” on a motion by Westside city Rep. Ann Lilly that called for advancing the recommended projects through the Metropolitan Planning Organization process. The Save the Valley Neighborhood Association urged Lilly not to restart the process for reviving the Redd Road extension, which the study said will be needed by 2025 but recommended looking at it again in another major traffic study in eight to 10 years. Larry Nance, president of the Upper Valley Neighborhood Association, asked City Council to get started on the Redd Road extension as soon as possible and expressed disappointment that the study recommended leaving the heavily congested Country Club Road as a two-lane street with a middle turn lande instead of going to four lanes.
-- Approved the $2.7 million purchase of 22 percent of the 30-acre Northgate Mall site for the Northeast Transit Terminal. The city’s portion of the cost will be $551,484 from certificate of obligation bonds, with 80 percent coming from the Federal Transportation Administration. Northeast city Rep. Melina Castro, who has supported the project in the past but voted against it because of the use of bonds that voters didn’t approve, voted in favor of the purchase Tuesday. She abstained, however, on awarding a contract to be negotiated with Arrow Building Corp. for construction of the Glory Road Transit Terminal. It will be financed with federal recovery funds and city certificates of obligation.
-- Approved a resolution to support the goals of the county’s Shared Services Summit that included several recommendations for law enforcement. But the council removed the long-term goal of establishing a metropolitan, city-county police department in the face of strong opposition by the Municipal Police Officers Association, voiced by association president Bobby Holguin. Short and intermediate-term goals for consolidated record keeping, officer recruitment and training and crime lab operation between the police and sheriff’s department remained in the resolution.
City Manager Joyce Wilson warned that employee positions will be lost as part of the city’s effort to adopt a no-tax-increase budget again this year.
-- Voted to support the recommendations of the council’s Transportation Legislative Review Committee setting goals that included a renewed emphasis on establishing light rail service in El Paso without backing away from the shorter term goal for five bus rapid transit corridors.
Most Viewed Stories
- ABC-7 reporter and photographer handcuffed, detained while covering I-10 wreck
- FORUM Arts and Culture: Contemporary Art (and Money) Matter
- Police Blotter 4.20-23.09; 71 year-old arrested for smuggling drugs; 15 year-old arrested for multiple burglaries
- Sex clubs and swingers in El Paso
- Drug-related kidnappings in El Paso hard to pin down but ICE stands by 6
- Theater Near Completion
- In the News: Juarez and the Sun Bowl
- Police Blotter 11.23.09: Manhunt Monday
- Civilian review board clears officer who arrested KVIA's newsmen on I-10 of excessive force charge
- Gang injunctions: The political bromide for crime fighting in poor neighborhoods