Casco cuts Town Office hours

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — The Casco Town Office was one of the only municipal offices in the region that opens its doors for business each Saturday.

Regularly, Town Manager Dave Morton has shuffled around staff schedules so employees could take turns working on the weekend, while staying under 40 hours a week.

The Casco Board of Selectmen unanimously favored reducing the number of hours the town office is open to the public. During its most recent meeting, the board did away with the town’s policy of being open for half a day on Saturdays.

In total, the town office hours will decrease by 14 and one half hours.

In according with the board vote, town staff will also delay opening the office until midmorning on Tuesday. However — as has been the case, Tuesday hours will be extended until 7 p.m. so people who work during the weekdays are able to register vehicles and conduct other town business.

Beginning March 6th, the Casco Town Office will have the following hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.; and Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information, go to www.cascomaine.org

During the Jan. 24th meeting, in which the entire board supported the cost-cutting move, Morton told the board, “Saturday mornings are the biggest challenges for us to staff.”

It is a difficult objective to regulate each employee’s hours to 40 hours per week in order to offer the same number of office hours to the public, he said.

“We staggered it so some staff came in early, and some stayed later,” he said.

But, no matter how on-the-clock time was redistributed, “we cut eight hours of productivity from the week to staff on Saturday,” Morton said.

For several months, Grant had been asking about the possibility of reducing the number of hours the town office is open.

“My suggestion is cutting office hours,” Grant said as the topic was broached.

Prior to the meeting, Morton had researched the hours of other municipal offices in Maine. “Most towns do not have Saturday hours. Casco was the lone community that still did that,” he said.

“There is an interesting observation I made as I was talking to staff about office hours. One issue that came up is that our hours need to be convenient. But, the staff said when they go somewhere for business, they have to take leave time to go do that,” Morton said.

He cited doctor office visits and dropping off a vehicle at the mechanic’s as well as other errands.

“When you have personal visits, you take personal time to accomplish that,” Morton said.

Later, Chairman Barbara York expressed concern that the last Saturday of the month might be a popular time for residents to reregister vehicles.

Selectman Paul Edes responded with resistance to the proposed change.

“Ray, you are talking about cutting the staff hours back. Why cut the days offered to the public?” he asked.

“On Saturday, it is busy. And someone wants to cut out a day, and they are choosing Saturday, which is when people are piling in the door,” Edes said.

Despite any concerns about the impact on residents if the town office’s Saturday hours are reduced, all selectmen sided with the cut back.

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