Calera approves 38-hour work week, 5 percent pay cuts

The Calera City Council voted 4-2 Wednesday to approve a 38-hour work week for all hourly city employees, and cut salaried employees and fire department personnel’s pay by 5 percent – a move that will save the city about $125,000 this fiscal year.

The decision, to be effective June 10, comes after the council on Monday quelled the fears of residents and employees who believed a 32-hour work week was under consideration. Many worried the cutbacks would significantly reduce police and fire protection services.

Other cost-cutting steps the council approved include the reduced use of 66 city vehicles by department heads and police and fire employees. The vehicles will be parked at the end of each shift instead of driven home. The city will also stop mosquito spraying, and city inmates will be responsible for street sweeping.

City leaders say the cutbacks are far more tolerable than a second round of layoffs. The council voted to lay off 13 employees in an effort to salvage the city budget in January. The council at that time also voted to suspend employee step raises for one year.

Last month, the council approved to switch to a four-day work week as another cost-cutting measure. All city offices, except for the police and fire departments, are closed on Fridays.

The Calera Public Library, which was open six days a week, is now closed Sundays and Mondays.