Charlestown to consider town hall hours reduction
— Residents may have fewer hours to get to town hall if the Board of Commissioners approve a new proposal.
Currently, town hall is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with an office closure of noon to 1 p.m. each day for lunch. Under the proposal, it would open at 8 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday with Friday hours being 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
“We found that for the most part, we never have a phone call
or anybody walking in after 2 o’clock in the afternoon on Fridays, it’s always and has been the slowest day of the year,” said Wib Pumpaly, town administrator, at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Pumpaly said he and other office employees have discussed the hours of the other town halls in the county for a period of time and looked into other town hall hours.
They found that the town hall stays open 45 hours a week, the longest compared to any other town hall in the county. Pumpaly said Port Deposit town hall is open 30 hours a week, Chesa- peake City town hall is open 33 hours a week, North East’s town hall is open 40 hours a week and Cecilton, Elkton, Perryville and Rising Sun all are open 42.5 hours a week.
“The town of Charlestown has a 45-hour week, which is more than any of the towns that we’ve surveyed,” he noted. “That is the town staff keep the town hall open 45 hours a week, if you will, whereas the town’s maintenance people in Charlestown only work 42.5 hours a week.”
Pumpaly suggested cutting their two 15-minute breaks — breaks that are required by labor laws — every day to equate to 2.5 hours a week to reduce the work day, allowing for the closure at 2:30 p.m. He said the federal labor law requires an hourly employee a 15-minute break in the morning and a 15-minute break in the afternoon.
“I would have to check on this about the 15-minute break, especially because of labor laws, I don’t know if that’s actually legal,” Commissioner President Renee Capano said.
Pumpaly then suggested that if the commissioners do not want consider the break reductions, they could adjust the office’s lunchtime. He said the labor law does not require giving employees an hour for lunch.
No decisions were made on the proposal and is scheduled to be discussed at the next meeting at 7 p.m. July 26.
In other news, the commissioners have also unanimously voted to give the town’s full-time staff a 3.3 percent cost of living adjustment increase Tuesday night, which equates to about $7,000 extra in spending, starting as of July 1. Although, two commissioners were not present during the meeting, the three commissioners did approve the increase.