Open Fridays around the corner for P&Z

Published 8:44 am Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Planning and Zoning office in Boyle County may be open for business five days a week sooner than previously anticipated.

P&Z Director Steve Hunter said Wednesday he believes he can open the office from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday by reorganizing work schedules.

Currently, the office is only open Monday through Thursday — a four-day work week that was implemented in the wake of the 2008 recession, when building activity cratered.

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Hunter said opening on Fridays is possible in part because Administrative Assistant Jennie Hollon has “been holding down the fort for the last month or so” as previous P&Z Director Paula Bary reached retirement and Hunter took over.

“She clearly has an understanding of all our processes and she’s been a big help to me,” Hunter said. “I’m comfortable that if I was working Monday through Thursday and she’s Tuesday through Friday or whatever … we can have the door open and maintain business. … We can all work 32 hours and have the doors open 37 and a half a week. That seems very easy to me.”

Hunter said he has to work with the P&Z staff on scheduling to determine a final plan, but he expects to begin opening on Fridays soon — “I wanted to start it last week.”

P&Z Commission member Vince DiMartino said he thinks now is good time to do a trial run in order to see how it goes and be ready with a permanent plan in October.

Hunter was hired with the expectation that he would initially work four days a week, but begin working five days a week and keep the office open on Fridays in October.

“I think you’re the most qualified person … to do that, and I think everybody would probably agree that we should just leave it in your hands,” DiMartino said.

This year and last year, Danville and Boyle County officials had criticized P&Z for remaining closed on Fridays. Danville Mayor Mike Perros said in April that it sends a message that Danville and Boyle are “not open for business.”

P&Z officials have previously opposed opening five days a week, arguing that building activity in the area has not rebounded enough to justify the expense.

Early this year, it was estimated it would cost about $25,000 in extra funding from Danville and Boyle County to expand to five days a week. When Hunter was hired, it was announced that he would work five days a week without any additional expenditures from the city or county.

Hunter said all his previous jobs have been Monday through Friday.

“I do understand why we need to be open on Fridays, why the window needs to go up at 8:30 and stay open ’til 5,” he said. “It’s real simple; we just need to coordinate lunches and breaks and schedules, and I think we can do it. And the staff is open to it.”