County working to reduce air pollution by cutting back employee commutes

In an effort to reduce air pollution caused by their own employees, county supervisors are poised to institute flex time and telecommute guidelines that would keep cars off the road.

Two-thirds of the county government’s greenhouse gas emissions are caused by employees commuting to and from work, according to a recent study cited by Assistant County Administrative Officer Dan Buckshi. The county has 2,450 workers.

Buckshi told supervisors in a staff report that “one of the keys to reducing gas emissions is to reduce the amount of commuting.”

Buckshi added that the county Planning and Building Department is working on a larger, more comprehensive and “holistic” plan to cut back emissions.

But this morning, supervisors will be asked to ratify Buckshi’s current proposal. The policies call for:

The county’s employee associations must sign off on the proposals, which go into details.

Department heads, for example, must agree to individual plans. Employees working at home will have to agree to let their bosses pay random visits to their home work quarters.

Telecommuters also must be available by phone or computer, to guard against people taking advantage of the system.

The alternate work schedule and telecommute policies are designed to help the county comply with the state Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, also known as AB 32, the number of the bill.

AB 32 requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels — a 25 percent drop — by 2020, and to 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050.