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Be prepared to go online if you want a hunting license or need to renew your vehicle registration on a Friday.

Beginning in early August, Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. is directing the state go to a 10-hour, four-day week for many state agencies. Hours of operation will be extended from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

The change means the Division of Motor Vehicles, Division of Natural Resources and other state offices will shut down on Friday, along with many other offices that deliver services to residents.

But essential workers - for example, highway patrol troopers, Corrections officers and state parks - will not be affected, although their administration offices will close. Utah courts, public schools and colleges will not change, nor will the Governor's Office.

The goal, Huntsman said, is to help conserve energy by not heating and cooling buildings, reduce gas consumption for commuters, and provide an incentive for state workers that could be a recruiting tool.

Utah is the first state in the nation to make the change on such a large scale, although other states, local governments and the federal government have made the change on a smaller scale.

Huntsman said he thinks the change will encourage residents to take advantage of services online and employees to telecommute in cases where it is practical.

"I think we're onto something that long term is good for the state," the governor said.

Huntsman says 16,000 to 17,000 state employees will be affected when the change is implemented. He acknowledges some of those workers will have problems because of child care or transportation issues, but agency heads will be asked to spend the month of July working through those issues.

"The energy efficiencies are significant that we can achieve," Huntsman said. "When you look at the totality of the needs, this is a good policy moving forward."

Theresa Richardson, of West Valley City, was waiting Thursday with her son to get his learner's permit at the Fairgrounds Drivers License Office.

As long as people get word that offices are closed Fridays, it shouldn't be a problem, she said.

"I know what my electric bill is like and you've got to cut back where you can so you can afford other things," Richardson said. "I think it would be better to go to a four-day workweek than lay off people because you're worried about fuel costs and gas costs."

Administrative Services Director Kim Hood says the state expects to be able to close about 1,000 buildings for an extra day a week under the plan, cutting energy use by about 20 percent and saving a projected $3 million a year when its fully implemented.

After a year, the program will be evaluated to ensure there are savings and worker productivity has not dropped.

Audry Wood, executive director of the Utah Public Employees Association, said the union is trying to stay neutral on the proposal "because we're in a situation where we have employees who love it and employees who hate it."

"One of the things we want to make sure the governor looks at carefully is there are numerous employees who will be affected by it, whether it's secondary jobs, transportation or child care," she said.

Wood said the association hopes "he will be flexible and compassionate to the employees who are trying to undergo this transition."

A study by a group of Brigham Young University researchers released earlier this month found that city employees working four 10-hour days were more satisfied with their jobs, had fewer conflicts at home and were less likely to look for a new job elsewhere than those working the traditional five days a week.

Nine of Utah's 15 largest cities offer some type of four-day schedule.

Huntsman said there will likely be discussions with the State Board of Education and higher education officials on the benefits of going to a four-day week, but it will be up to them to make the change.

'Working 4 Utah'

* What: Governor is ordering a 10-hour, four-day workweek for an estimated 17,000 state employees beginning in early August. New hours will be from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

* Why: Saving energy costs and employee commuter expenses estimated in the millions of dollars.

* How extensive: The Governor's Office does not yet have an extensive list of agencies to be closed Fridays. The Utah Highway Patrol, human services, Corrections, courts, public and higher education departments and state liquor stores will be exempt.