This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or email@example.com.
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Extra days off
Each year, the city manager asks the City Council to grant city employees extra holiday leave to match what the governor gives state employees. This measure gives city workers a half day of work on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (they already get the Friday after Thanksgiving off), a half day on Christmas Eve and full days off on Dec. 26 and Jan. 2.
Usually, this passes easily, with no discussion. This year, with talk of tight budget times and potential tax increases on the table, it generated some talk before it was approved unanimously. Most council members said that in a year when city employees only got a 2 percent cost-of-living raise and had a retirement benefit taken from them, this is a fairly low-cost way to give them a real benefit.
The proposal prompted city resident Hamilton Palmer to point out that a lot of folks in the private sector get far fewer paid holidays than government employees. If they want these days off, they take vacation time.
City Manager Phillip Rodenberg said that given the small raise employees got this year, "I thought this was reasonable."
"This has been a really tough year. We’ve asked our staff to do more with less," said Councilwoman Mary Katherine Greenlaw.
"This is the least we can do," said Councilman Matt Kelly.
Councilman George Solley said he would support the proposal for a slightly different reason.
"I’m not sure that on these particular days any work gets done anyway in government offices."