Commissioners should reinstate Friday hours | In Our Opinion

It’s time for the Island County Board of Commissioners to reopen all departments on Fridays.

As the result of a decision made in 2009, the commissioners deemed it necessary to control expenses in the ever-worsening economy.

At the time, with fewer people doing more work, it made sense to give overburdened employees a chance to take a breath and make a dent in the ever-growing backlog of work on their desks.

But that was four years ago. Development in Island County and nearly everywhere else had slowed to a crawl and nearly all construction stopped as home values plummeted.

Today, the situation is different. During 2013, home values in the county rose about 2 percent.

Several real estate professionals and contractors recently pointed out there is a sufficient need to reopen county offices on Fridays. Having certain county offices closed is having an impact on their businesses.

That not only hurts their businesses, it hurts the overall financial health of Island County.

When discussing office hours, the commissioners should not take that fact lightly.

During a recent roundtable meeting with the commissioners, several department heads indicated they are in a position to restore Friday office hours. It might present some hardships, but it can be done, they said.

The commissioners should take heed. These are professionals who know their offices, the workload and the public demands for their services.

We encourage the commissioners to take these department leaders up on their offer.

The commissioners voice some concerns about re-adding Friday hours — most related to cost of hiring additional staff.

It’s OK to have reservations, but the commissioners shouldn’t ruminate too long on this issue.

The public, county department heads and the island’s economy are all saying the same thing: If Friday hours can be reinstated, then it should be done as soon as possible.


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