Diboll City Council

Members of the Diboll City Council debate an agenda item during its Monday meeting at Diboll City Hall.

DIBOLL — Following a trend that other Angelina County cities such as Huntington and Zavalla have adopted, the Diboll City Council on Tuesday approved a plan modifying the work week for city employees from a five-day, eight-hours-a-day schedule to a compressed four-day, 10-hours-a-day schedule.

The council decided on a five-month trail period for the new schedule starting April 30.

City departments that will be affected by the 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday schedule include administration, municipal court, water, sewer, streets, code enforcement, park maintenance, civic center and golf course maintenance. The golf course schedule and police department would be unaffected. Employees in the water, sewer, streets and park maintenance departments as well as the civic center would still be available on an “on-call” basis after hours, according to city officials.

Addressing the council, Huntington City Manager Bruce Milstead said the four-day, 10-hours-a-day schedule, which they went to three years ago, has worked well in his city.

“The women in Huntington love it because they have time to come to city hall to pay their water, gas and sewer bill or they have an hour and a half in the afternoon,” Milstead said. “We haven’t seen any kind of reduction or any kind of hardship at all on our citizens by going to this versus the utility department. It saved us money on electricity and utilities at our city hall and our structures. Our citizens seem to love the idea.”

Milstead also told the council that the schedule, 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, has resulted not only in an increase in productivity and a decrease in sick time, but in financial savings which has allowed the city to undertake more street projects.

Diboll City Manager Dennis McDuffie said residents that can’t get to city hall during regular business hours to pay bills, apply for housing permits or see the municipal court will benefit most from the new schedule.

“(The council) did the prudent thing — they’re going to give us a test period and we’re going to see how it works in the next five months before the next budget year,” McDuffie said. “My thought is that it’s going to bear out and hopefully we’ll continue the 4/10. There may be some operational changes and things like that where we’ll need to go back to the regular schedule. I’m very pleased that the council gave us the opportunity to at least put this on a trail basis. I think it will prove to be very effective for the city of Diboll.”

In other business, council members:

■ Reappointed Council member Daniel Lopez to the Deep East Texas Council of Governments Board of Directors.

■ Approved a budget amendment using technology funds for a court upgrade and hotel tax funds for Tamale Festival entertainment.

■  Approved an ordinance providing for administrative approval of minor or replats.

■ Approved an ordinance establishing rules and regulations for park use which includes prohibiting all-terrain vehicles and mini-bikes on a permanent basis and all animals only during special events such as the Tamale Festival at Old Orchard Park on May 12.

Steve Knight’s email address is sknight@lufkindailynews.com.