Flex schedules will continue

Flexible schedules for public employees seem to be working in Richmond and Columbia counties, and officials say the programs will probably continue.


Meant to save energy and fuel costs, Columbia County began flexible scheduling in July. Officials said they wanted to test the program until December, and county commissioners voted last week to continue it until June.

"At that point, we hope to have a better understanding of the cost savings generated by the program," county Administrator Steve Szablewski said.

Should the savings prove significant, Mr. Szablewski said commissioners likely will extend the program another year.

Augusta instituted a similar program about six months ago to save on fuel costs, and Administrator Fred Russell said Tuesday he'll re-examine the program in early spring.

"Everything has been positive to this point," Mr. Russell said. "We haven't had a loss in customer service, but we've seen a gain in productivity, so it seems like a win-win."

Many Columbia County departments, including Community and Leisure Services, Finance, Maintenance, Human Resources, and Roads and Bridges, offer workers the opportunity for 10-hour days, four days a week followed by three days off.

City offices in Augusta using flex scheduling include the Tax Commissioner's Office, Utilities, and License and Inspection.

Augusta keeps offices open each work day, but employees work varying hours and take different days off , Mr. Russell said

Mr. Szablewski said the community often benefits from longer hours.

"I know in my office we've extended our hours ..." he said. "Having that extra hour Monday through Thursday helps a lot of people get in touch with us."

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com