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Summer Hours Return to Municipal Building

Borough council agreed Tuesday to take the municipal building to a four-day per week operation again this summer.

The Fair Lawn municipal building will be closed on Fridays again this summer.

At the borough manager's suggestion, council agreed Tuesday to institute a cost-savings plan that puts the municipal building and its employees on a four-day work schedule from June 14 to Aug. 30. Business hours Monday through Thursday will be extended correspondingly during that 12-week period.

Starting June 14, the municipal building will open a half-hour earlier and close an hour later Monday through Thursday -- from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. -- and be closed (except for the police department) on Friday. 

The four-day workweek is expected to save money by eliminating built-in employee overtime and comp time that is accrued when municipal building employees routinely work evening hours. Rather than receiving overtime for working nights, employees with regular evening duties will start and end their days later so as not to accrue overtime.

Resident feedback about the borough's implementation of identical summer hours last year was largely positive, borough manager Tom Metzler said.

A majority of both residents (61 percent) and tenants (65 percent) indicated they either preferred or were indifferent about the borough's summer hours, according to the borough's recently analyzed resident survey.

Employees, too, responded favorably to last year's four-day workweek pilot, although municipal court workers sometimes felt strained by the late and unpredictable hours they clocked without overtime, Metzler conceded.

He said the borough realized a substantial savings in overtime costs during last year's trial run and expects additional savings on the energy end this year because of the borough's new air conditioning unit.

Because the borough's finnicky old chiller couldn't cool isolated segments of the building, the borough was forced to cool the entire building on Fridays last summer to accomodate just the police department.

The new chiller, installed last fall, has the capacity to hone in on the police only without wasting cold air on an otherwise empty building.

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