By Katina Caraganis
SHIRLEY — After four years of being closed every Friday, the Shirley Town Hall will be open for half days on Fridays after selectmen unanimously approved the idea this week.
Selectman Andy Deveau, who also serves on the Energy Committee, said the Energy Committee holds their regular meetings every Friday morning at Town Hall and he’s personally had to turn multiple people away who were looking to do business.
“It was agreed upon by all three selectmen that this was the right thing to do. It was agreed upon by all three selectmen that the Town Hall should be open five days a week if possible. Four hours on Fridays is appropriate,” Deveau said.
The scope of work will not change for town employees, Deveau said. Each person will still work 40 hours a week, but now, it’ll be spread out over the full five-day week.
“If you’re scheduled to only work four days, you’ll get all your hours in,” he said. “Every board in there, everyone ends up working a night meeting. That’s computed into their required work hours.”
Deveau said previous Town Administrator Kyle Keady had taken out half of the lightbulbs in town thinking it would help save in energy costs, but Deveau said the difference was not noticeable.
“With what you would end up saving in such things as computer usage, which doesn’t amount to a whole heck of a lot, this just made sense. With the initiatives the Energy Committee is putting forward, we believe there will be a net savings when it’s done,” he said.
Selectman Kendra Dumont said ultimately she and the other board members need to do what is in the best interest of the townspeople.
“We were always open five days a week and then a couple of years ago, the past town administrator closed down to conserve energy,” she said. “I personally have had so many complaints from people about why the Town Hall isn’t open on Fridays. I hope we don’t see our utility bills spike, but it’s the right thing to do for the town. It’s their money that pays for all of that.”