DuPage housing agency mandates five-day work week
By Susan Frick Carlman email@example.com September 21, 2012 3:00PM
Updated: October 25, 2012 6:10AM
Employees at the DuPage Housing Authority will soon be putting in a five-day work week.
At the suggestion of its newly appointed interim executive director, the agency’s board of directors has voted to lengthen the required hours for each full-time staff member at the authority, which helps low-income families arrange housing with help from federal vouchers.
Deb Darzinskis — who was named temporary director when the board late last month fired David Hoicka after just eight months on the job — pitched the plan to require everyone to come to work Monday through Friday and put in 37.5 hours over the five days. The agency had been allowing employees to work four nine-hour days weekly, with their supervisors’ approval. Most, Darzinskis said, have chosen that over coming in Monday through Friday.
“Right now it’s choice-driven,” she said to the board.
The problem with most of the staff being gone either Monday or Friday, she said, is that the only days when full productivity can be counted on are Tuesday through Thursday.
“It, in my opinion, really does not work well for the needs of the agency. ... It’s just very dysfunctional,” she said. “It’s one of the things that since I’ve been at the housing authority, you can just see on any given day.”
Chairman Tom Good said he polled other housing agencies to see whether they permit the same level of flexibility.
“I think they’ve heard of it, but it would not be the norm,” Good said.
The board’s support for the proposal was unanimous. Naperville resident Mike Brosnahan, head of the finance committee, said the option represented the best prospects for providing optimal service to the agency’s clients.
“I think that you should have a full complement of employees,” he said.
Board member Kathy McGowan, who also lives in Naperville, wondered whether the change might be an added burden for clients. She pointed out that some of those served by the organization can only come late in the afternoon, after they have finished at their own jobs. Employees are now in the offices until 6 p.m., but after the change takes effect Nov. 5 the desk will close at 5 p.m.
“Is that of benefit to the clients?” said McGowan, who was Darzinskis’ boss when she headed Catholic Charities in the Joliet Diocese. Darzinskis worked there for 14 years before joining the DHA staff in June, hiring on as a project administration specialist.
Hoicka, who was earning $125,000 annually, was let go in the wake of numerous complaints from DHA staff about his management practices.