Charlestown board dis­cusses town hall hours, road projects

No de­ci­sion made on pos­si­ble ear­lier clo­sure

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By BRI­ANNA SHEA

bshea@ce­cil­whig.com

— Fol­low­ing lengthy dis­cus­sions, town com­mis­sion­ers were un­able to come to a de­ci­sion on ei­ther chang­ing town hall hours or spe­cial road projects, de­cid­ing in­stead to wait for more in­for­ma­tion.

Ear­lier this month, town ad­min­is­tra­tor Wib Pumpaly sug­gested clos­ing town hall at 2:30 p.m. on Fri­day in­stead of 5 p.m. by elim­i­nat­ing two daily 15-minute breaks that em­ploy­ees aren’t cur­rently us­ing.

Pumpaly said he found that the county’s other town halls have vary­ing hours, and three of the town halls are not open Fri­days, close at noon or close at 2:30 p.m. Port De­posit town hall is open 30 hours a week, Ch­e­sa­peake City town hall is open 33 hours a week, North Easts town hall is open 40 hours a week and Ce­cil­ton, Elk­ton, Per­ryville and Ris­ing Sun all are open 42.5 hours a week.

He noted that the town main­te­nance em­ploy­ees cur­rently work 42.5 hours and town hall em­ploy­ees work 45 hours a week.

“It was pointed out that I could not use the breaks, how­ever, I sug­gested, pos­si­bly we re­duce the lunch hour (from an hour) to half hour and use the two and a half hours that you ac­cu­mu­late there to pos­si­bly re­duce the hours on Fri­day and close the town hall at

CHARLESTOWN

2:30 p.m.,” Pumpaly said.

Pumpaly said not many peo­ple come into the of­fice and there are not many phone calls af­ter 2 p.m. on Fri­days.

Com­mis­sioner Andy Thomp­son sug­gested an­other idea that would not re­duce town hall hours, but would give em­ploy­ees al­ter­nat­ing Fri­days off. He pro­posed em­ploy­ees work nine-hour days and then take off ev­ery other Fri­day, stag­ger­ing the Fri­day off so one em­ployee is al­ways in the of­fice on Fri­day for eight hours.

One per­son would take off a Fri­day and then the other two em­ploy­ees would take off the other Fri­day, he said. Thomp­son said he would not be op­posed to the idea of a lunch break re­duc­tion from an hour to a half hour, but he also doesn’t know ev­ery­one’s feel­ing about his sug­ges­tion.

Re­nee Ca­pano, com­mis­sioner pres­i­dent, said she agrees with the idea, but there would have to be hour changes so that the town hall does stay open on Fri­days. She said that town hall should stay open un­til 5 p.m. Ca­pano sug­gested that one per­son can come in at 8 a.m. and leave at 4:30 p.m. and then the other two come in at 8:30 a.m. and leave at 5 p.m., keep­ing the hall open un­til 5 p.m.

“I don’t see us clos­ing town hall be­cause I have been in here Fri­days,” Ca­pano said. “Peo­ple are com­ing in.”

Ca­pano said one rea­son she doesn’t think town hall should close early is be­cause the town web­site’s on­line bill pay­ment capa- bil­ity won’t be ready un­til De­cem­ber, mean­ing peo­ple still need to come into town hall to pay.

Com­mis­sioner Bruce Hech­mer said he wouldn’t mind clos­ing ear­lier if the web­site were up and foot traf­fic at town hall was slow. He said he also doesn’t mind the lunch break re­duc­tion idea.

Hech­mer asked Pumpaly to take a poll about how many peo­ple come in on a Fri­day and give the com­mis­sion­ers the re­sults next meet­ing.

Ca­pano also noted that she wants to make sure no la­bor laws are be­ing bro­ken re­gard­ing em­ployee breaks. Pumpaly said he spoke with the town at­tor­ney about the two 15-minute breaks. He said busi­nesses have tra­di­tion­ally per­mit­ted those who work eight hours a day to take a break in the morn­ing and a break in the af­ter­noon, but this is not re­quired.

The idea was tabled and no de­ci­sions was made on the town hall hours.

Pumpaly then turned the dis­cus­sion to sev­eral spe­cial road im­prove­ment pro­ject pri­or­i­ties, strik­ing up a dis­cus­sion about town streets.

The first pro­ject in­volves ex­tend­ing Lou­sia Lane, which is 2.5 miles long, and would in­clude grat­ing and putting down gravel, Pumpaly said. The sec­ond pro­ject is Caro­line Street, from North Ogle Street to the end of the street, which would cost $10,640, he said. Next on the pro­ject list is Caro­line Street, from North Ce­cil Street to Bladen Street, where wa­ter tends to ac­cu­mu­late and pond, with a price tag of $39,000, he said.

The last pro­ject is at the stop of Fred­er­ick Street go­ing into C Dock. Although the land is leased to the Well­wood Ma­rina, the street is town prop­erty. He said the cost to resur­face the road is $11,000. The pot­holes on that road are al­ready bud­geted to be fixed.

There is $60,000 in the town’s street bud­get with $25,000 to $30,000 al­ready ap­pro­pri­ated to­ward fix­ing 21 to 25 iden­ti­fied pot­holes, Pumpaly said.

Ca­pano said it might be bet­ter to fo­cus on the drainage is­sues of the spe­cial projects first.

“If we don’t fix the drainage is­sues, paving the streets is kind of a mute point be­cause the drainage is­sues is gonna eat up the streets,” she said.

The com­mis­sion­ers agreed to hold off on the spe­cial projects un­til the spring.

In other news, the com­mis­sion­ers ap­proved the pur­chase of a tail­gate elec­tric salt spreader to be in­stalled on the back of the town’s dump truck for $5,640, which was bud­geted for in the fis­cal year 2017 bud­get. This will give the town a sec­ond salt spreader for the win­ter months.

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