At the last meeting of the St. Petersburg City Council, there was some unrest over “employee leave” during the holidays. Such a topic sparked some controversy and it wasn’t the first time.
Some advocate for employees, others for what they consider a good work ethic. What is missing from the entire debate and should take precedence is what is best for the citizens of the city.
Absences from work, whether centered around vacation or not, should always ask the question, “How does this affect the person(s) I work for?” »
For example, let’s use the most recent closing dates around Thanksgiving.
If citizens had planned to go to city hall on Wednesday. On November 22, based on a schedule published by the city, and the closure was sudden, what effect does this have on the citizen? the teenager had a project due and he planned to complete it over the holidays and planned to go to the St. Petersburg Public Library to do his work, based on the previous schedule published by the city and council changed it, where does this leave the student? In both cases, no consideration is given to the citizen.
If a person planned to use Petersburg Area Transit on Wednesday to go to a store to buy something for a Thanksgiving meal, could they? If they needed to go out the day after Thanksgiving, when all stores were open for Black Friday but they typically relied on PAT, it wasn’t available.
Guess what was open? Dogwood Trace Golf Course was open Wednesday, Friday and even Thanksgiving Day. Citizens who play golf have been considered and allowed to make their own decisions. Why not the rest of Petersburg?
Why not apply it every day?
Holidays are not the only time when citizens are not prioritized when thinking about taking time off work.
Why do we continue to operate in a 9-5 Monday-Friday mentality these days? If everything is open to citizens during these hours and citizens work during these same hours, wouldn’t it be prudent, thoughtful, intelligent and kind to have one of these days, perhaps a Wednesday, from 10 a.m. in the morning. 6 p.m. or 11 a.m.-7 p.m. to give people time to leave work and still have time to take care of their business? At the Department of Social Services, wouldn’t it be nice to have evening hours one day a week for people who can’t access them during the day?
This controversy really isn’t controversial at all. Or at least, it’s not obligatory. We simply need to do the following:
- Put citizens first. They pay the salaries of all employees. Consider their needs, ask yourself who would serve them if you were not there.
- Learn to think outside the box and start “Flex Time”. For example, offer people Friday off if they can work Saturday and make it convenient for citizens who can only come to City Hall on Saturday. Or if an employee needs or wants to spend time at their child’s school on Monday and Wednesday mornings, allow it as long as they can catch up at the end of the day and work until 6 or 7 p.m. , which turns out to be practical. for the citizen.
- Make a schedule and stick to it. The city draws up a calendar for the year starting in January of the same year. It should be adopted when we adopt the Council Regulation.
Create a schedule and stick to it. Once the audience knows what to expect, they deserve to see it.
Treska Wilson-Smith is a former member of the St. Petersburg City Council. The opinions expressed in this column are his own.