At the Sept. 20 Altus City Council meeting, an item regarding establishing a work week was somewhat misunderstood. Though there was nothing in the agenda item to reveal the intent of the item, the intent was to change current wording in the Policies and Procedures documents from a five-day eight-hour day to fit the temporary four-day ten-hour work week.
The council discussed the item with very little resolution in the matter. Then council member Jack Smiley motioned to table the item. That gave the council two weeks to research and ponder the City's work week. It was originally stated that the "four-tens" was a cost-cutting measure. Now it is commonly viewed as an employee perk.
There may be some unstated financial considerations involved in the work week schedule. Various factors that contribute to the City's financial situation will be discussed at the Oct. 4 Altus Municipal Authority (AMA) and the City Council meeting.
Weighing in on the work week schedule, Altus Street Commissioner Holmes Willis, has presented part of his personal opinion on the matter.
The Altus City Street Department worked for thirteen years on the 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. schedule very successfully, according to Willis. They, like other departments that work outside, and "by hand" need the daylight hours available in a five-day eight hours a day shift, as opposed the four days with ten hours. Remarks made by Human Resource Director Matt Coppock and Mayor David Webb at the Sept. 20 City Council meeting strongly indicate they understand the need for the Street Department to be on the schedule they require. In keeping with that, the Street Department's alternate schedule of Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. , as opposed to the City's current "four-tens", has been approved, Willis said.
Willis is asking other department heads to be responsible to the people and use their money wisely in choosing their schedules. Willis is asking those who also work "by hand", who require lights to work safely, to consider applying for the five-day eight-hour schedule. This, Willis feels, will lower workers comp injuries. Sanitation trucks have lights so they can see the meters in the alleys. But, Willis pointed out, the flat-bed trucks that are needed to pick up larger items from the alleys do not have side lights. He feels this work week schedule is a safety issue for every department that lacks complete lighting for work in the dark.
Willis also raised an issue regarding overtime. When the Parks Department was required to work on Friday, to prepare for events like the Chili Cook Off. Since they are working the "four tens" they were paid overtime. The Street Department also worked Friday, but at regular pay.
Also regarding the work week subject, Willis said many people would like their City Hall to be open on Fridays.