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Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Editorials Editorial: Government Should Adjust Holiday Schedules

Editorial: Government Should Adjust Holiday Schedules

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

Not trying to sound like a grinch or "bah-humbug", the Town of Carolina Beach was nearly totally shut down for a week during the Christmas holiday.
They closed early that Monday, were closed Christmas Eve Tuesday, Christmas Day Wednesday, and the day after Christmas. That Friday Town Hall was only partially open for business with a severely limited number of employees serving the public.
Most employees took vacation time to round out a holiday from Saturday to the following Sunday (obviously counting weekend days in total). That obviously does not include the police, fire and in part the Operations department. Those departments are a 24-hour necessity for public safety.
The question is, can the Town of Carolina Beach and other local governments like New Hanover County reduce their workweek to four days rather than five? Monday to Thursday or Tuesday to Friday.
Obviously they have proven the Town can survive practically an entire six or seven-day period without full staffing. That means we could at least experiment with reducing payroll by a full day in order to save taxpayers dollars.
Perhaps dedicating that savings to funding beach nourishment or dredging the Carolina Beach Inlet.  Certainly lessens future opposition to employee furloughs in the face of budget cuts.
Combine that with eliminating health insurance for elected officials and we could slightly tighten the budgetary belt even further while loosening the grip on taxpayer's weekly paychecks.
Is this idea a little extreme? Sure. But it makes a point.
Don't let the shareholders know the business will survive by spending less.
Of course, there's a flaw in this argument, because ultimately taxpayers would be told that in order to remain competitive with other Towns they would have to raise employee pay even for a shorter workweek.
The serious point is, government should be open 24 hours a day seven days a week in a capacity that meets the needs of the public whenever and wherever required. That includes upper management that, as a majority, should continue to be at their desks when not taking strategically scheduled vacation time including time off before and after a holiday.
If local governments were a restaurant, business would have suffered due to lack of employees to service their customers.
This has proven that savings can be realized without a full workforce for over a week. Not the best presentation to reinforce job security.
Kure Beach was open the day after Christmas, but they take that day off later in the year for Presidents Day. That helps to spread out their holiday schedule and keep the doors open longer.