Clay County recognizes Juneteenth as county holiday

Julie Morgan
Julie Morgan

Some Clay County government employees are getting an unexpected 3-day weekend.

All Clay County government offices will be closed on Monday, June 20, 2022, in observance of Juneteenth. Since June 19 falls on a Sunday this year, it will be observed the following day.

Tuesday, the Board of County Commissioners unanimously agreed to amend the 2022 holiday schedule for non-bargaining employees, adding Juneteenth to the list.

County Administration and Public Works buildings, Clerk of Court and Comptroller’s Office, Clay County Courthouse, Property Appraiser, Tax Collector, Supervisor of Elections, and Sheriff’s Office non-emergency administration offices will be closed.

However, Clay County public libraries will be open during regular business hours. In addition, the Rosemary Hill solid waste management facility will operate normally, but the administrative offices will be closed.

Curbside collection of garbage and yard waste will run as usual.

County Manager Howard Wanamaker brought the issue to the board Tuesday. Commissioner Wayne Bolla asked about the costs associated with closing county offices. “That’s just straight-line salaries,” responded Wanamaker. “There are probably savings involved in this if you think about it. Vehicles won’t be driven throughout the county, for instance, for facilities and public works. There will be electrical and water savings.”

Commissioner Betsy Condon said, “I think this is important to our employees from what I’ve been told, and I would support that.“ She went on to say, “I would actually support the adding of Good Friday because I’ve had some employees say that they wanted to have Good Friday as a recognized holiday.”

“It’s a federal holiday. I think we need to have that off to honor the day. Regardless of how you feel about the day,” said Commissioner Mike Cella. “I think we need to add that.” Cella said he would also consider “Good Friday as a possibility.”

In 2021, President Biden signed a bill into law, making Juneteenth a federal holiday. June 19 commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. On that day, the last enslaved people in the United States, in Galveston, Texas, got word that slavery had ended more than two years earlier.

The county will resume normal operations Tuesday, June 21.

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