The ‘Working 4 Utah’ initiative will extend state government service hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday beginning the first week of August. State administrative offices will be closed on Fridays but essential public services will remain open that already run on extended hours and during the weekends.
The order issued by Republican Governor Jon Huntsman will affect about 17,000 out of 24,000 executive-branch employees. It will not cover state police officers, prison guards or employees of the courts or Utah’s public universities.
Turning off the lights, the heat and the air conditioning on Fridays in 1,000 of 3,000 government buildings will save about $3 million a year out of a state budget of $11 billion, according to the Associated Press, citing the governor’s spokeswoman Lisa Roskelley. The state will also save on gasoline used by official vehicles, but authorities have not figured out how much. The Department of Environmental Quality estimated employees in six buildings alone will save themselves more than $300,000 spent on gas to commute to work (see http://www.utah.gov/governor/docs/SavingsCharts.xls ).
In announcing the initiative, Governor Huntsman noted that the ‘Working 4 Utah’ initiative will be “critically evaluated following a one year period to allow for any necessary adjustments in the future.”