Notes From All Over For Week Ended July 11

July 11, 2009 | 17 comments
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Comment here on the Notes From All Over for the past week. We’ve numbered the notes with letters for your convenience and to distinguish them from comments to this post.

17 Responses to Notes From All Over For Week Ended July 11

  1. Dan on July 11, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    a – but that’s so socialist! Next I’ll hear some American propose that American workers get more vacation than the barely two weeks they currently get. Sheesh, do Americans think we’re France or something?

    j – how petty, childish and silly.

    af – we’re going to be talking more about Bybee in the coming weeks.

  2. Chris H. on July 11, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    The four day work week was still a 40 work week. Not so much a worker perk as much as an attempt to save of utility and travel costs. Not quite European.

  3. Ardis E. Parshall on July 11, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    j — I’m waiting for the police report; there has to be more to it than what has yet been reported. Either they stopped deliberately in front of a security officer to kiss, or else they did a heckuva lot more than that, over several minutes duration. Security isn’t so thick on the ground that an officer could even have reached the pair walking at a normal pace before they were off campus, even if a camera did happen to catch the kiss. Besides I’ve seen security dealing with panhandlers, a guy setting up a table to sell junk, and even a homeless man trying to pitch a tent on Temple Square. Some of them have been quite belligerent, but every security officer I’ve seen has been patient, calm, friendly — insistent that some activities must be taken off grounds, but very low key and polite. This incident, whatever happened, didn’t escalate due to any misbehavior on the part of church security, I’ll warrant.

  4. Mark D. on July 11, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    b – Based on my limited understanding of trademark law, I seriously doubt the University of Utah is going to prevail on this one. Trademark use is illegal where “such use is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive”.

    For a variety of reasons, that doesn’t seem likely to be considered to be the case here. This was a work of fiction. The mark was used to refer to the proper institution, not some other real or fictional organization. It wasn’t used to put the University in a bad light. It wasn’t used to imply that the show was sponsored by the University. What other grounds are there?

  5. Chris H. on July 11, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Mark,

    I think you are right. My guess is that the Univ. of Utah is making a statement to show that their logo was not being used with official permission.

    Either way…..GO UTES.

  6. Mark D. on July 11, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    As a Utah resident, I would be perfectly happy with a four day work week for the state government as long as the day off was on Tuesday or Thursday instead of Friday, the work week was reduced to 32 hours, and all applicable state employees took a 20% pay cut.

    As it is, the program is essentially an enormous waste of money. The government exists to serve the public, and if state offices are only open four days a week, the state is providing significantly less than full service. In addition, the idea that virtually anyone on a 4×10 schedule accomplishes as much as they would on a 5×8 schedule is absurd.

    If anyone thinks that is a good idea, why don’t we save money in our public schools by going to ten hour days three times a week for elementary school students? Surely they will learn just as much. And we can create or save lots of jobs in the daycare industry in the process.

  7. Chris H. on July 11, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    My point Mark is that this was not done to improve the quality of life of the employees but, as you described, is essentially a partial furlough.

  8. queuno on July 11, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    I have two family members employed in government in Salt Lake City, and a third who works closely with government. (None of them are on the 4×10 schedule, though.)

    Their observations are that it’s much easier to get something done at another government office during a 10-hour day than during an 8-hour day. They don’t take to take, say, a long lunch. They all agree that having some offices closed on Friday is really no big deal; they’d rather be able to go to those offices late.

    I was in SLC a couple of weeks ago, and the news indicated that they’ve seen a 13% reduction in cost from this. Most of the employees seem to love it.

    In addition, the idea that virtually anyone on a 4×10 schedule accomplishes as much as they would on a 5×8 schedule is absurd.

    It depends on the type of work you’re doing. If you’re basically providing a counter-type of service, or processing forms, etc., yeah, you can do just as much.

  9. queuno on July 11, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    In fact, in the mid-90s a lot of engineering firms adopted a 9×80 schedule — you work 80 hours over 9 work days and get a three-day weekend every other week. One motivator was research finding that employees would waste (x) amount of time per workday, regardless of how long they were there, and people actually got *more* work done, because there was one day less with (x) time wasted.

  10. Mark D. on July 11, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    Chris H: Furloughs are time off without pay – everyone here is still working the same number of hours per week, just on less days. So the labor costs are nominally the same, and the only visible savings is a marginal reduction in the state’s utility bills.

    Queno: If a 9 / 80 schedule was on an approval basis for those employees and departments that could demonstrate increased effectiveness under those conditions, that would be fine. The big problem is that everyone is off at the same time – which means that non-emergency state services on Fridays essentially don’t exist. 11 billion dollars a year and only available 4/5 of the time.

  11. Dan on July 11, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Mark,

    If anyone thinks that is a good idea, why don’t we save money in our public schools by going to ten hour days three times a week for elementary school students? Surely they will learn just as much

    That will make things worse, not better. What students need is not more time in a classroom in a day, but rather less. Spread it out, keep it to about five or six hours a day, and then let them play and learn on their own, or with their parents.

  12. Mark D. on July 11, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    q –

    “The blessings of the [LDS] Church are available to anyone who qualifies for and accepts the gospel of Jesus Christ,” LDS spokesman Scott Trotter says. “Federal law allows undocumented persons to provide volunteer church service, including missionary service, within the United States.”

    That is a jaw dropping mis-statement of the facts. The law was recently changed to exempt the Church and other comparable organizations from laws that prohibit harboring illegal aliens. However, the law does not “allow” unlawful immigrants to give such service in the United States.

    Giving volunteer service is not an affirmative defense to violation of the immigration laws. If it was, “undocumented” missionaries would still take airline flights.

  13. queuno on July 11, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Queuno: If a 9 / 80 schedule was on an approval basis for those employees and departments that could demonstrate increased effectiveness under those conditions, that would be fine. The big problem is that everyone is off at the same time – which means that non-emergency state services on Fridays essentially don’t exist. 11 billion dollars a year and only available 4/5 of the time.

    It’s certain departments on the 4×10 schedule. Not all departments.

    And yes, the thinking is that the extra hours on the four days are more important than the fifth day for those departments. You undoubtably disagree, but generally, it seems like (based on my very unscientific survey of lots of family living in SLC) people disagree with you.

  14. Mark D. on July 11, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    13. Certainly, Dan. Depending on the activity longer days wear people out to one degree or another and they become less effective (or receptive in this case) as the day wears on. I am sure we could save a couple million in utility bills by changing our public schools to a 3 x 10 schedule though.

  15. queuno on July 11, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    I thought “Is Huntsman Distancing Himself From LDS Church?” was interesting. Um … I think the qualified answer is “yes, in *public*”. And if he wants to avoid turning out like Mitt, I would too… I doubt Huntsman taken to enjoying a cigar in the privacy of his home…

  16. queuno on July 11, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    One relative who is employed in a judicial capacity thinks that the state should offer courtroom hours (and similar services) in the early evenings, to make it easier for people to file paperwork, attend to short hearings, etc.

  17. Mark D. on July 11, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    It’s certain departments on the 4×10 schedule. Not all departments.

    The Drivers License Division, which if anything I thought would be an exception, has moved to the 4×10 schedule as well. I believe most officially close at six, although I think you have to be there at five to get anything serious accomplished (it used to be four p.m.).

    However, if public service is the goal, it would be better to change the hours so that such offices opened later and closed around eight.