Local city votes to not observe Martin Luther King Day

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by KMOV.com Staff | @KMOV

KMOV.com

Posted on December 9, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 9 at 6:40 PM

(KMOV.com) -- Millions of Americans observe the Martin Luther King holiday. Schools and banks are closed and government offices shut down, but the City of Warrenton is raising some eyebrows after a decision not to make it a holiday for city workers.

Alderman John Clark tell News 4 the move isn’t meant to make a statement, but rather to save taxpayers money, especially after he has asked them for their input.

“First thing they ask me, ‘do we get Presidents’ Day off? They say, ‘if we don’t get that day off we shouldn’t be doing Martin Luther King,’” said Clark. “Whether that’s the right way of looking at things or not, I don’t know. I look at it from a financial point.”

Warrenton has about 8,000 residents, two percent of which are African American. The board was split in a 3-2 vote.

Mayor Jerry Dyer said he is concerned about perception of the move, but understands the board’s goal is to help taxpayers save money.

“I mean I would like to figure out a way to honor Dr. King myself but I have to be responsive to the board’s wishes when they say we have to be fiscally responsible to the voters,” he said.

62 Warrenton city workers would have received the paid holiday. There’s no estimate on what it would cost the city in lost productivity.

The board did discuss having city workers give up one of their personal days off in exchange for the holiday, but that plan never really got any traction in the council meeting.

Martin Luther King Day has been a federal holiday since 1986 after being signed into law by President Ronald Reagan and is observed in all 50 states.

Schools and Warren County offices are closed for the holiday. 

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