A pilot program in which several hundred government employees will depart from traditional work schedules in order to increase productivity and reduce downtown traffic congestion was announced Wednesday by top county officials.
Starting with several departments experiencing work backlogs, the pilot plan is expected to lead to weekend and evening hours in some county offices. The first participating departments will be those of the treasurer-tax collector, registrar-recorder, assessor and county clerk.
Although the few hundred initially affected employees represent only a smidgen of regular commuter traffic, Supervisor Mike Antonovich and Chief Administrative Officer Richard Dixon said the program could represent the beginning of a countywide effort.
"We do feel if the county makes the effort, we are also going to be encouraging the private businesses . . . in the central part of Los Angeles to have comparable staggered work hours and double shifting of their employees," Antonovich said.
May Involve 10,000
Under such a system, the government employees would scrap their regular 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedules. Some workers would arrive during the early morning hours while others might report late in the afternoon.
If successful, the program could involve up to 10,000 of the county's 75,000 employees within a few years, Dixon said. He said it may be six months before officials know if the program is cost-effective.
Besides easing rush hour traffic for those employees on the altered schedules, Dixon said, the program would better utilize county facilities, equipment and parking facilities by using them as many as 21 hours over a 24-hour period instead of the current nine hours a day.
Dixon said the altered scheduling also will help the county to recruit talented workers who might have turned down government jobs because of personal concerns such as child care. The program is to be voluntary for employees.
The following departments will participate in the program:
- The registrar-recorder will use double shifts in its City of Commerce office. Later this year, the office will open its Hall of Records office to the public on Saturdays.
- The assessor's office is expected to open its Hall of Administration office and Lancaster branch office to the public on Saturdays by year's end.
- The treasurer-tax collector will expand to a full 24-hour operation during peak tax periods and, starting in November, will increase public counter hours during the week and on Saturdays.
- The county clerk of the Superior Court will extend its marriage license bureau's weekday hours until 8 p.m. by Jan. 1.