The common council for the city of Shullsburg approved a change in hours for the city office at their meeting on Wednesday, April 16.
As of May, the city office will now only be open on Mondays from noon to 5 p.m. Regular hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. will still be maintained Tuesday-Friday.
Marsha Einsweiler, Shullsburg city clerk/treasurer, made a request to the council to either shut down the office to the public completely on Mondays or at least shut down for half the day.
Einsweiler stated that because there are only two employees in the office: herself and deputy clerk/treasurer Laura Weiskircher, it is very difficult to maintain, keep up with and organize records and other paperwork that need regular attention when both employees are often helping members of the public that come in to pay their bills or ask questions.
Both employees will still be in the office all day on Mondays, but now will have the mornings to focus on internal organization and records. They will still take phone calls to the city office as well.
Einsweiler pointed out to the council that there are boxes and boxes of records and paperwork in a basement room of the city building that need to be gone through and thoroughly organized, but when the office is open, they can’t leave the upstairs office unattended, making it difficult to complete the task.
City council member Jim Paquette agreed that the office should be closed in order for the city office staff to catch up on the work that has fallen behind due to the short amount of time the employees have when faced with helping customers all day.
“Workloads have naturally gone up, the government expects more, the boss expects more and they want less people to do it,” said Paquette who was in favor of closing the office to the public all day on Mondays.
City council member Darrell Morrissey, however, was adamantly against lessening the amount of hours the city office was open to the public at all.
“It’s a public building and I think the taxpayers should be able to expect that it will be open to them for 40 hours a week,” he said.
Shullsburg’s new mayor Gloria Swenson said that she had gone and looked at the basement room and voiced the opinion that the task ahead of the city office employees of going through and organizing everything down there was going to be a huge task and that they would need to take some time to focus solely on that.
The council approved the new hours for a six-month trial basis and will revisit the topic after that time has passed to see how things have been going and if it has disrupted the public extensively.
Morrissey voted against the motion.