CANYON COUNTY, IDAHO - Telecommuting, four-day work weeks, and a county-run commuter shuttle are among options Canyon County officials are mulling to ease the impact of soaring gas prices on county employees and departments.

Canyon County commissioners recently met with other elected county officials to toss around ideas. All agreed the first step should be to send an e-mail to county employees, asking for their preferences and ideas, according to


Ada County already offers employees subsidies to ride the bus or join a van pool. In Boise, city employees are studying telecommuting.


Cutting driving time would save the county money for employees with county vehicles or mileage reimbursement, but most of the benefit would be to employees’ personal budgets. Many county workers commute 25 miles or more each direction from communities such as Boise, Melba, Fruitland, and Weiser.


County officials were receptive to the idea. Some jobs, such as customer service, are necessarily confined to the office, but others, such as data processing, could easily be done at home at least part of the time.

Sheriff Chris Smith suggested the county investigate setting up a special county transit bus and plotting a route that would pick up interested workers and take them to and from the courthouse.

Gov. Butch Otter’s push to reduce Idaho’s carbon footprint recently resulted in a detailed state telecommuting policy that includes guidelines and a form employers or employees can use to identify whether telecommuting would be appropriate for a specific job. Criteria include a worker’s ability to work autonomously and a clear understanding of computer security and other requirements.


Canyon County officials will study the state plan to help shape county expectations and procedures.