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Senator Turner Innovates To Help Staff Save Gas, Money

TRENTON – Senator Shirley K. Turner today said she is implementing a four-day work week in her district office as part of a pilot program through Labor Day to help her staff save on gas money while providing five extended days of service for constituents.

“The goal is to help my hard-working staff deal with the crisis in gas prices by providing them with a 20 percent reduction in commuting to and from the office,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “The extended hours also will help working people if they need services from the office in both the early morning or early evening hours.”

Under Senator Turner’s plan, starting Monday, July 21st, her office at 1440 Pennington Road, will open at 7:30 a.m. instead of 8:30 a.m., Monday through Friday, and will stay open until 7 p.m. instead of closing at 5 p.m. each work day.

“The idea is to give the staff less commuting and more quality time at home when everybody’s paying more at the pump and more at the grocery store checkout counter,” said Senator Turner. “By Labor Day, we should get a pretty good idea if it works before moving forward into the fall and winter.”

Senator Turner said her staff of three full time professionals, one part-time worker and two interns received the option of working the extended, four-day week and all agreed it was a “great idea.” However, one of the workers was unable to participate because of responsibilities related to a second job, she said.

Senator Turner said most of her staff lives in Trenton, Ewing Township or Lawrence Township but one staff member commutes daily from South Brunswick and an intern drives daily from Montgomery Township.

“We’re still working out the exact hours for every one,” said Senator Turner, noting that the extended hours call for a full-time work day of from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. or from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. with flexible designations for taking the extra day off so all five days of the work week are staffed.

“It will be a challenge, but we have to do something to deal with this mess of a gas crisis and soaring food prices,” Senator Turner said. “If we just maintain the status quo now, we’ll lose the battle because I know public sector salaries can’t keep pace with the soaring prices for food and gasoline not to mention home heating and cooling prices. I’m sure employers in the private sector are facing the same challenges so I hope we can encourage others to try similar work economies.”

Senator Turner said she believes her staff will make the pilot program a “win-win” endeavor.

“The staff can get an extra full day off and our constituents will get three extra hours of services each day of the work week,” Senator Turner said.