BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
The city of Los Altos’ new policy of giving most employees every other Friday off never went before City Council, City Manager Chris Jordan said.
Jordan said he made the decision unilaterally and declined to explain how he came to the decision.
Under a 9/80 schedule, which both Palo Alto and Menlo Park have used since 2001, employees are expected to work 80 hours in nine days, rather than 10.
Jordan refused to explain how employees’ hours would be tracked in order to ensure they were still working 80 hours every pay period.
He said residents would know employees were working longer days “the same way they know that the employees are working eight hours a day now,” but declined to say what he meant by that.
Customer service concerns
Vice Mayor Lynette Lee Eng said she “would have preferred” to see the item presented as an agenda item in a public hearing so residents could weigh in.
“It’s a concern because I’m always concerned about decreased services for residents and the constituents,” Eng told the Post.
But Mayor Jean Mordo said he didn’t mind that Jordan made the decision on his own.
“He runs the city, not the council, but he had the courtesy to tell us he intended to propose to do that,” Mordo told the Post.
Mordo also said he didn’t think the city’s employee unions had asked for the new schedule.
“We have only very few of the employees are unionized, and frankly, they haven’t been pushing for that,” Mordo told the Post. “We cannot pay very high salaries. We try to be competitive, but we are a small city and it’s difficult to attract people.”
Mordo said some employees have 90-minute commutes and that one finance employee commutes from South San Jose on a motorcycle.
‘It’s not a perk’
When Jordan announced the new schedule on Wednesday, he touted it as a measure to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the number of days employees have to commute to work.
“I know it looks like a perk, but it’s not a perk,” Mordo said. “They’ll be here at 7:30 a.m., which is much better for the customers.”
City Hall will now be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, closed alternate Fridays. Walk-in service and front counter hours will end at 4:30 p.m. and close from noon to 1 p.m.
On open Fridays, walk-in services and front counter hours will close early, at 3:30 p.m.
Police won’t be affected by the change. Fire won’t be affected either, since it is provided by the Santa Clara County Fire Department, which is not a city agency.
Hillview Community Center and recreation office hours will remain 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
Of the city’s three employee unions, only the Teamsters’ 2016-to-2019 contract has a provision for a 9/80 schedule if an employee requests it in writing and “if it maintains the service levels we provide and is transparent to our citizens.”