Monterey Park City Hall will start closing on Fridays due to an agreement reached with its labor unions. In exchange, the city’s labor unions have agreed to allow a 10% employee work furlough to stay in place for 27 more months.
To accommodate those who have business at city hall, Monday through Thursdays operating hours will be extended: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the busiest days.
In accordance with the agreement, the change in operating hours starts this Friday, and will run through December 30, 2014
Thomas J. Cody, Monterey Park’s Director of Human Resources and Risk Management, told EGP that the 10% furlough unions agreed to a year ago, which cut hours for employees, is saving Monterey Park a million dollars annually, and will continue to save the city that same rate for the next 27 months, through December 2014 when the agreement ends.
“Were not in dire shape at all but we’re still looking at the effects of the economy,” said Cody.
According to Cody, Monterey Park has been able to balance its budget by cutting spending when necessary.
“Monterey Park has gone ahead of the curb by looking at their budgets and their staffing,” Cody said. The council said “we’re going to spend exactly what we get.”
Previously, City Hall was open on Fridays for half the day and Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. According to Cody, the City Council did not want to decrease the number of hours open
“The council wanted to spread the hours that were being lost on Fridays,” Cody said. “For the most part we’ve maintained offices and services, we just have less staff.”
Under the new agreement, 18 months from now the furloughs will be reduced to 5% for the remaining 9 months.
“The labor unions came to the table to assist the city,” Cody said. “In essence, the city needed to continue furloughs for the next 18 months.”
He said the city hopes to open City Hall on Fridays with normal business hours once the agreement ends.
“Hopefully the economy will support that then,” Cody said.
Cody told EGP he does not believe that the change will affect very many residents, and noted how understanding Monterey Park residents have been about issues like this in the past.
“The community understands that we’re facing difficult fiscal times,” Cody said. “I think since the community saw that we we’re open half days on Fridays they mostly conducted their business Monday through Thursday.”
Several holiday observances were also adjusted in the agreement, specifically City Hall being open Veteran’s Day on November 11, 2012.
Correction: A previous version of this story indicated that the city hall hours were extended to 8:00 p.m. The correct hours are from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.