By a majority of 4-1, council voted down Resolution 184-16, which would have made Borough Hall open for the people’s business four days a week.
At last night’s borough meeting, Mayor Carl Hokanson presented a schedule that still had Borough Hall closed on Fridays permanently but increased the hours it was open from the summer schedule of 37½ hours to the full 40 hours it is open the rest of the year. Borough Hall would be open from 8:30 a.m. till 6:30 in the evening Monday through Thursday and closed on Fridays.
Mayor Carl Hokanson explained the proposed schedule, “The hours will be Monday through Thursday 8:30 to 6:30 p.m. with an hour for lunch. That makes the employee work one extra hour a week. That’s 52 hours a year. The 15 holidays that they receive, as per contract, instead of being paid 15 eight-hour days, they will be paid 15 ten-hour days to take up part of the 52 hours. So technically, the borough employee will be working an additional 22 hours per year at no charge.”
During the discussion on the resolution, Third Ward Councilman Ryan Kelly, “I understand the thought process. This would allow more evening hours later in the day four times [a week]. In my opinion, if this was strictly back office functions I’d be on board with it and I think it would offer better quality of life to the employees that do work hard. But since most of these positions are service roles and it would limit accessibility as far as amount of days per week that’s why I do not agree with it and will be voting no.”
Fifth Ward Councilman Thomas ‘Thos’ Shipley added, “I think it needs to be re-worked in light of the comments from the public and repsonses I’ve received and everything I’ve herad here today . . . I do understand that in terms of doing shift changes, we don’t have that kind of staffing . . . I think there’s got to be another solution to serve the public in terms of later hours but also alleviate some of these other issues.”
The councilman went on to give examples of things that would be impacted from the deadline to submit and distribute agendas to the governing body to satisfying OPRA (Open Public Records Act) requests to issuing permits. He motioned to table the resolution for further research but it was not seconded.
Councilman Kelly stated, “I just want to shoot it down.”
The motion was denied and the vote on the resolution was taken. The resolution was defeated by a 4-1 with Councilwoman-At-Large Charlene Storey being the only one to vote in favor of the proposed schedule. Fourth Ward Councilman Mohamed ‘Gino’ Elmarassy had to leave right before the resolution on a personal matter and did not vote.