augusta free press news

Kaine pushing alternative work options in Richmond

Item by Chris Graham

Gov. Tim Kaine has some ideas for saving state taxpayer money in this day and age of $4-a-gallon gasoline.

Kaine announced yesterday a telework initiative for 120 employees in his Cabinet and in the governor’s office and a directive to all state agencies to consider ways to improve and expand their telework and alternate work-schedule programs.

“Rising fuel prices, the escalating cost of commuting to work, worsening traffic congestion and reduced air quality compel a change in the business culture of state agencies,” Kaine said. “Telework reduces energy consumption, both in the amount of gasoline used for daily commuting and in office-building energy costs. This policy provides a timely opportunity to create a culture of conservation within the state workforce, which can serve as an example for Virginia businesses in the private sector.”

Government entities across the country have been instituting similar measures in response to skyrocketing fuel prices. School systems in Staunton and Waynesboro have adopted four-day summer work weeks, and Staunton city government has considered adopting a similar schedule year-round.

More than four dozen employees of the Cabinet and in the governor’s office have already started teleworking or utilizing alternative work schedules. The state require employees to sign an agreement with their supervisor that details the terms and conditions of an employee’s work away from the central workplace.