To save energy costs, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said Friday that she’s thinking about switching state workers to a four-day workweek.
“There is a lot of interest in the idea,” said Glenn Kuper, a spokesman for Gregoire’s budget office.
Utah’s Republican governor, Jon Huntsman Jr., announced a similar move in late June. Utah expects to save about $3 million in energy costs by imposing four 10-hour days on about 17,000 state employees. Workers will work from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with many state offices closed on Fridays. The change took effect last week. State police and other key workers are exempt.
Looking for ways to cut costs in the face of a predicted $2.7 billion budget shortfall, Gregoire recently called for a state hiring freeze. She also asked state workers for savings ideas. Among them: more teleconferences and better state purchasing policies.
“However, the most popular idea was implementing a 10-hour workday four days a week,” the governor said in an e-mail to workers Friday afternoon.
The change would reduce building heating, cooling and lighting costs for taxpayers, Kuper said, and save workers the cost of one day’s commute a week.
A decision in Washington is expected within weeks.
Company offers free nebulizer inspections
With North Idaho’s field-burning season under way, a medical equipment company in Spokane is offering free inspections of the nebulizers some people with breathing problems use for their inhaled medications.
The machines can become ineffective over time, said Michael Mowreader, CEO of Inspired Solutions, in a prepared statement.
Inspections will be performed at the company’s store at 12307 E. Maxwell Ave., and will take between 5 and 15 minutes, the company said. Inspired Solutions specializes in nebulizers and other respiratory equipment.
Columbia River Road wildfire contained
Although temperatures neared 100 degrees Friday, the Columbia River Road wildfire that has burned 22,155 acres on the Colville Indian Reservation is 100 percent contained, fire officials said.
This means the fire is encircled by a fireline but is still not under control. Fire is still burning in the interior of the fire area.
Several crews were released today and more will be released Saturday to assist with smaller fires burning in the area.
Officials from the Washington Interagency Incident Management Team anticipate returning the incident to a Type III management team by Sunday or Monday.
The Columbia River Road is closed between Omak, at Cameron Lake Road, and Nespelem, at Schoolhouse Loop Road.
The 20 threatened homes remain under an Evacuation Level 1 advisement.
The cause of the fire, which ignited near Nespelem on Aug. 7, remains under investigation.