Biddeford City Hall will close on Fridays, with non union employees working a four day work week, starting June 27. Open hours will be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Tammy Wells Photo

BIDDEFORD – Nonunion employees at City Hall will be working a four-day week starting June 27 and the building will be closed on Fridays.

The building will be open two hours more each day on Mondays and Tuesdays, offering residents and others doing business at City Hall an opportunity to get there earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon  – City Hall opens for business at 7 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. on those days.  Hours will be 8 to 4 on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

The hours are currently 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Proponents of the measure say it is a way to retain current employees and attract new ones.

“Offering longer hours for two days out of the week will allow us to meet the needs of community members that prefer to receive in-person service but are limited by City Hall’s current schedule,” said City Manager James Bennett. “At the same time, moving to a four-day work week will help the city to recruit and retain the very best staff to deliver exemplary service to the community in the current competitive job market.”

The measure was approved 5-3 at the June 7 City Council meeting.


“The recommendation to change the non-union work hours is an initial step in moving the City of Biddeford further on the workplace of choice spectrum,” said Bennett.

He noted hourly employees would be paid based on a 40-hour week and are expected to work at least 36 hours.  

“If you work those hours, you will be paid for a 40-hour work week,” Bennett said in a May 13 memo to the city’s personnel committee. “If you have to work between 36 and 40 hours because of work demands that week, you will still only be paid for a 40-hour work week. Any hours worked less than 36 hours will be reduced from the 40-hour normal pay.” 

Not everyone was on board with the change. 

Councilor Marc Lessard said he has seen a decrease in services over the years, rather than an increase, “and this would be another piece of this…. this will provide less opportunity for citizens to do their work.” 

Councilor Martin Grohman said he would like the matter to be sent back to the personnel committee.  


“If an employee is able to work a four-day work week… support the goals but look at it to maintain the availability in the office,” said Grohman. ” It means a huge amount to citizens. (I’d) love for the personnel committee to have another look and consider some other approaches.” 

Council President Norman Belanger said the hours are part of a larger plan to retain good employees. 

“One way is you pay more or be creative and provide work positions (that are) more attractive,” said Belanger, in part. “I am supportive, not because I want to cut services, but maintain great employees and be flexible as we possibly can.” 

Bennett said if he  could have found a way to be flexible and still maintain a five-day open schedule for every city hall office, he would have. 

“It’s not being flexible to the public,” said Councilor Bob Mills of the plan. 

“I think 7 to 5 makes a big difference,” said Councilor Doris Ortiz. “Employees are happy and we can retain good employees.” 


Mayor Alan Casavant said when there is a vacancy, replacing an employee and getting them “up to speed” takes time. 

“All mayors are saying “we can’t keep workers,” so how do we create incentives to keep people here,” said Casavant. “It may not be perfect, but it can be tweaked later on.” 

When it came to the vote, Councilors Bill Emhiser, Scott Whiting, Liam LaFountain, Belanger, and Ortiz were in favor. Councilors Lessard, Mills and Grohman dissented. Councilor Amy Clearwater was absent. 

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