How Are City Workers Spending the 'Reduced Service Day'?

August 17, 2009

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Monday is the first of three "reduced service" days planned for Chicago this year. That means most city workers are taking the day off to help ease the city's budget deficit.

If you tried to call a city department Monday, you may have heard something like this:

MESSAGE: Monday, August 17th, the office will be closed as a result of the 2009 reduced service days...

That means no garbage collection, no checking out library books, no politicking at City Hall. So what are city employees doing?

WILLIAMS: I'm packing for an upcoming move.

That's Kristine Williams, who works for the City Clerk.

WILLIAMS: I've got the boxes all over and the bubble wrap and the newspaper and I'm packing it all up.

Williams says she likes having more packing time - but not for less pay. The city says it can save more than $8 million with the reduced service days. Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) is taking the term literally.

MITTS: I got a phone call from one of my constituents, I told 'em, I said "Not today.  We'll talk about it tomorrow.  I'm off today."

Chicago police and firefighters, however, are still answering the phones.