By Elsa Maxey
The first federal, state, and local government office holiday this year is in a couple of weeks. Actually it’s the second one since the first day of the year was already observed as the first holiday.
So, the second holiday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, is next and it will be observed on Monday, Jan. 21. That’s when the nation will remember this clergyman, who is celebrated for his tireless civil rights efforts which prevailed in the U.S. by way of non-violent means.
Those two holidays plus Washington’s birthday or President’s Day since President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is also in February, Memorial Day in May, Independence Day in July, Labor Day in September, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving in November, and Christmas Day just about wraps up the holidays for most. Although these appear to be the ones responsible for the local government offices closures, that’s not always the case.
The cities of Sugar Land and Missouri City, also Fort Bend County for example, do not close their offices on ‘President’s Day, but the 2013 Stafford calendar shows its city offices will be closed that day. And, according to the Texas Holiday Schedule for Fiscal Year 2013, all the state agencies will also be closed that day too, on February 18.
The state offices are also closed the day after Thanksgiving, just like Sugar Land, Stafford, Missouri City and Fort Bend County. In addition to Christmas Day, state agencies close on Christmas Eve as do the local government offices in Stafford, Missouri City and Fort Bend County. The state also takes an official holiday the day after Christmas.
Good Friday, which will fall on March 29 this year, shows planned city office closures for Sugar Land, Stafford and Missouri City. For state agencies, that’s an optional holiday, notes its 2013 calendar.
The feds list 10 holidays and they make it clear that Washington’s Birthday goes by that name although other government and private businesses may have a different name, it is policy to call holidays by their legally designated names. This year if Martin Luther King, Jr. Day had not fallen on Inauguration Day, also a legal public holiday, there would have been that extra holiday or 11 holidays observed by federal employees.
The city of Sugar Land shows it will celebrate 9 holidays in 2013, Missouri City 10, Stafford 10, and Texas state offices will have observed office closures with 11 holidays. Fort Bend County celebrates 12 holidays resulting closed government offices. The county also observes Fort Bend County Fair Day set for September 27 this year.
Among those keeping a keen eye on tax payer dollars, they have expressed interest in the number of paid holidays by government employees in relation to the private sector. According to a recent study, it was found that nine paid holidays is the U.S. norm.