Loxahatchee Groves residents soon will have more hours to access town hall — but they’ll have one fewer day to do it.
The town council voted unanimously last week to approve a four-day week for town hall, giving working residents more time to file paperwork, address issues and speak face-to-face with staff.
Under the new schedule, which takes effect May 14, town hall will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Wednesday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday. It will be closed on Friday. The current Monday-through-Friday schedule has town hall open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
Vice Mayor Todd McLendon suggested the change after hearing from residents who had difficulty getting to town hall before and after work. After talking with town manager Bill Underwood, the pair came up with the plan to be open four days a week.
“That way we extend our hours and people can get here after 5 o’clock when they need to be here, and they could be here early,” McLendon said.
The shift comes with no change in the town’s contract with Underwood Management Services Group, McLendon added. Bill Underwood manages the group and his wife, Perla, serves as town finance director. His son, Will, works in internet technology for the town. Several other employees are part of the contract as well.
Resident Joannie Hopkins said she was concerned the new four-day work week would limit residents’ access to town staff in case of emergencies. Mayor Dave Browning assured her residents would be able to reach someone, whether a council member or staff.
“Bill would be available, or all of us are available, on emergencies,” he said.
While town hall technically closes at 4 p.m. each day now, finance director Perla Underwood said staffers typically stay later already, occasionally working 12- or 16-hour days.
“We have residents that knock on the door or knock on the windows (of town hall),” she said. “We open the door and we let them in. We have that every day.”