City Considering Going to Half Days on Fridays All Year Long

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Photo by Charlie Breitrose Watertown City Hall

City Manager George Proakis asked the City Council to consider changing the hours for City Hall, along with the Senior Center, to half days on Fridays because it would help with recruitment of employees and added that Friday afternoons are slow for City departments.

The proposal would impact City Hall, the Parker Annex and the Senior Center, and would make the hours they are open to the public 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays; and Fridays 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Typically, Watertown City Hall has hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday most of the year, and during the summer it is open until 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and closes at 2 p.m. on Fridays.

Many city and town governments have half days on Fridays for the entire year, Proakis said. City officials examined open hours for neighboring communities, and those communities that are comparable to Watertown. They found that 12 of the 18 communities have full-year half-day Fridays.

“This would be more inline with our neighbors and more inline with our comparable communities,” Proakis said. “Particularly, it would yield meaningful work/life benefits for our employees as well as a substantial recruitment retention benefit. Quite frankly it has been difficult to recruit from communities that have the short Fridays to bring municipal employees here.”

Another change, Proakis said, would be that Watertown’s open hours would be cut by 2.5 hours a week. Currently, City Hall is open 42.5 hours a week, and the average for the communities 18 communities is 40.2 hours. Ten of them are open 40 hours or less. Watertown municipal employees would remain at 37.5 work hours a week, he said, but would have to cut back the amount of time for lunch.

“I look forward to the discussion with the Council,” Proakis said. “Friday afternoons are relatively quiet (in City Hall), I would say extremely quiet.” 

City Council President Mark Sideris said the proposal will be discussed at future meetings. He added that the City needs to do a broad outreach to the public because it would be a significant change.

“It’s a good change in many respects, but it is a very different model than we have been used to,” Sideris said.

Proakis said that there are a few months before the City would change to summer hours, which starts on Memorial Day. If it takes longer, the City could switch to normal summer hours and continue discussions about the change of hours.

2 thoughts on “City Considering Going to Half Days on Fridays All Year Long

  1. Thank you to our city manager !
    Other municipalities have had this schedule for decades !

    I tried to do this when I was on the town council .The unions all wanted it.

    The town manager wouldn’t approve it!
    . Instead he had the town hall close just from Memorial Day to Labor Day
    at 2 pm on Fridays ‘
    Ridiculous !

    the public will quickly adjust to the half days on Fridays year round !

    Mt Proakis You have made the employees feel respected – and very happy’!

  2. I want to add thst I disagree with councilor Sideris . He states” this is a significant change “,
    He states it will be taken up in future council meetings .
    I don’t see the need to hsve multiple meetings
    I believe it should be taken up for a vote at the next council meeting with public input..

    It’s a win win ‘- At the present time the manager cannot have any communication with other municipalities on Friday afternoons ‘

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