Oxnard Council OKs Plan to Shift City Hall Hours

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Oxnard City Council on Tuesday approved an anti-pollution plan that will close City Hall at noon Fridays and extend office hours the remaining weekdays.

The anti-pollution plan had been adopted in July, but the council reversed itself in November and instructed staff members to come up with a new proposal. On Tuesday, the council reversed itself again and adopted the original plan on a 3-1 vote.

The plan, mandated by the county's Rule 210, calls on large employers, including city governments, to help reduce employees' car trips during the morning rush hour.

Oxnard's plan would accomplish this by placing most of its employees on a compressed workweek.

Under the plan, some employees would work 10-hour shifts four days a week and take Friday off, and others would work nine-hour days and take every other Friday off.

The plan also calls for City Hall to close Friday at noon starting Feb. 1. Mondays through Thursdays, City Hall would remain open to the public until 6 p.m.--one hour past its present closing time.

Also included in the anti-pollution plan are small financial incentives for employees who car pool, bike or walk to work. Rewards range from coffee mugs to $50 gift certificates at local restaurants.

The city will also install bike lockers and shower stalls to encourage cycling and guarantee rides home for car-poolers who get sick on the job.

Council members said Tuesday that they reversed themselves again because staff members persuaded them that the compressed week would not reduce employee productivity.

Mayor Nao Takasugi added that the city was running out of time to explore alternatives.

Oxnard faced fines of up to $25,000 a day if it did not approve a plan before a county-imposed Feb. 1 deadline.

But Councilman Michael Plisky, who voted against the plan, said he believed that productivity would be affected. Moreover, he said, the proposal would not help reduce pollution and would be costly for the county.

Councilwoman Dorothy Maron abstained, citing similar concerns.

City Transportation Director Lino Corona said he was relieved by the City Council's decision.

"It would have been very hard for us to come up with a new plan before the deadline," he said.

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