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Shortened work week, full pay starts for most San Juan County govt. employees

Twenty-four percent wage increases and a four-day work week begin this week for the majority of San Juan County government workers. The changes were approved by the three San Juan County Council members Chair Cindy Wolf, Jane Fuller, and Christine Minnie. The wage increases are necessary to provide 100 percent of  pay to staff while they work 20 percent fewer hours. In other words, the paycheck stays the same while the work week is reduced to four days.

According to county staff, the changes were made to make county employment more attractive. The county has had difficulty filling vacancies.

In September the council also separately approved recruitment bonuses of up to $10,000  to "attract highly competent external candidates for positions which are difficult to recruit and hire." Link to list of jobs available.

The Sheriff's Office, Superior Court, District Court, and management are not included in the shortened work week 

A UK study done in 2022  of a four-day work week is referenced in the material posted online about the change. Reading the full report, it appears none of the 61 companies that participated in the seven-month study (two months of preparation and five months of performance) were a  government providing public service. 

The report states: 

"Of the 61 companies that took part, the largest group derives from the marketing/advertising sector, with eight firms (18%). The second largest subset is professional services with seven (16%), with charities/nonprofits being the third largest group (11%). Beyond that the companies are distributed over a range of industries, including healthcare, arts & entertainment, retail, construction and manufacturing."

The metrics used to judge the success of the reduced hours were revenue, resignations, new hires, and absences. The county's metrics will include recruitment and retention, department service delivery, and employee wellness.

Fiscal factors were also a motivation for the switch. The county states it is holding the cost of the payroll relatively constant while effectively giving the employee a sizeable increase in hourly wages.

“Asking the voters to increase taxes in the current economic climate is the path of last resort. There are other measures such as changing the work week that must be exercised first,” said San Juan County Administrator Mike Thomas. This creative approach enables the County to live within its financial means and provides employees with the wage increase and schedule flexibility that island life demands. 

The employees are getting a 6 percent COLA increase separately from the 32-hour week changes.

How will a 20 percent reduction in staff hours affect government services?

The information for the following offices and departments is posted on the county's website. Each one included a statement that the department's/office's output will remain consistent with existing service levels and productivity will remain the same across the organization.

The Sheriff's Office, Superior Court, District Court, and management are not included in the shortened work week.

Auditor's Office  closed on Fridays.

Open to the public:

Elections Division  | Monday – Thursday |  8 am to 4:30 pm.

Licensing and Recording Division  |  Monday to Thursday | 10 am to 4 pm.

Regular hours of operation |  Monday to Thursday  |  8 am to 5 pm. 

Assessor's Office   closed on Fridays.

Open to the public | Monday to Thursday | 10 am to 4 pm.


Regular hours of operation |  Monday to Thursday  |  8 am to 5 pm. 

Department of Community Development

Open to the public | Monday – Friday |  8:30 am to 3:30pm. 

Regular hours of operation | Monday-Friday | 8 am to 4:30 pm.

Treasurer's Office

Open to the public | Monday to Friday | 10 am to 4pm. 

Regular hours of operation  | Monday-Friday |  8 am to 5 pm.

Health and Community Services: will hold regular hours of operation and remain open to the public as is currently scheduled at our various work locations. The regular hours were not listed. 

County Clerk will close for lunch from 12 noon to 1 p.m.

Open to the public | Monday to Friday |  8:30 am to 4:30pm. 

Regular hours of operation Monday to Friday |  8:30 am to 4:30pm. 

Parks and Fair Department - No Change

Admin office | Monday to Friday |  8:30 am to 4:30pm. 



1 comment

  • T Brumm Tuesday, 03 October 2023 05:44 Comment Link Report

    The three executives approving this decision should be fired immediately. The reason the jobs are hard to fill is obvious. The pay is not competitive when taking into account the cost of living on the island.

    So what did you provide for? You’ve turned full time professional/career jobs into part time part time jobs. The raise only works, if the worker goes out and gets a second job. Some Career…. Oh, and added to the already burdened systems that are already underperforming and provide mediocre services in many cases. Just go out and see if you can get some codes enforced or permits processed. And this is on the heels of eating a 25% increase in property taxes. Nice job… ridiculous.

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