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One County Discovers That Fridays Off Just Doesn't Work

February 06, 1996|KENNETH WEISS

It seemed a good idea at the time: Let employees work four-day weeks to reduce the number of cars on the road, thus cutting smog.

Ventura County took the idea to heart and shut down most of its offices on Fridays in 1993, hoping that would help satisfy air pollution rules. But the public has complained about not being able to get things done on Fridays.

And not just the public. Sheriff Larry Carpenter said the shuttering of county offices has bedeviled law enforcement and the courts, which remain on a five-day schedule.

"We have the same problem the public has," Carpenter said--running into locked doors trying to do pressing county business on Fridays. "Our sole purpose . . . is to serve the public. We need to find ways to extend that service, not retract it."

The county is now looking at switching some of its vehicles to cleaner-burning natural gas to reduce smog. And officials have asked for a staff report on reopening offices on Fridays.

"We would hope to open facilities five days a week," said Chief Administrative Officer Lin Koester.

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