UPDATE: St. MARTINVILLE, La. (KLFY) — The St. Martinville City Council voted to poll their city employees in a Monday night meeting for which paid holidays they would prefer to eliminate to add Juneteenth as a paid holiday.
Other options were discussed, including changing some holidays to unpaid or allowing employees to choose which holidays they get use their holiday time for.
The decision on whether Juneteenth is added as a paid holiday and which holidays it will replace will return at a later date. You can listen to the full council discussion on agenda item #13 in their meeting livestream attached below.
ORIGINAL STORY: St. MARTINVILLE, La. (KLFY) The Mayor of St. Martinville hopes to add Juneteenth as a paid holiday for city employees, but some council members believe they have enough holidays already.
Monday, July 19th’s agenda reads “Consider removing All Saints Day and Mardi Gras as employee holidays and replace Juneteenth as employee holiday.” That meeting starts at 6:00 P.M.
St. Martinville Mayor Melinda Mitchell explained, “I actually put it on to add not knowing the council would make a motion to remove two. That was very devastating to me”
Mayor Mitchell didn’t want to take away any of the city of St. Martinville’s 13 paid holidays, but to add Juneteenth she says, “Is definitely worth it.”
Worth is why Mayor Pro-Tem Craig Prosper suggested the two for one trade.
“It’s pretty simple what I’m looking for. I’m trying to save the city money, not spend more money, and we need to do some things creatively to make ends meet,” Prosper told News 10.
He said essential workers like police and utilities work regardless, so adding a paid holiday costs thousands.
The council left the decision of which holidays to eliminate up to the mayor. Her options were Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, New Years Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Mardi Gras, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, All Saints Day, Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and Veteran’s Day.
She chose All Saints Day. “That was actually my first pick. It was very easy to pick that one,” Mitchell said.
Her second choice was Mardi Gras. “It was difficult to decide,” Mitchell stated. “I know due to COVID a lot of Mardi Gras parades have decreased. There’s not a lot of people celebrating gatherings, so that’s the two days I chose to remove.”
Mitchell said “unfortunately” she did not consult the city’s over 80 employees on which days they’d prefer as holidays because she “didn’t want to make it that complicated.” Ultimately, she felt if the city observes Independence Day it should also observe Juneteenth Independence Day.
“People of color especially have been fighting for a long time to have that day recognized, and I’m just grateful that the president did recognize that day, and I just wanted to be able to celebrate it with the City of St. Martinville,” Mitchell concluded.
Both Prosper and Mitchell said employees can still use vacation if they want off either day.
The City of St. Martinville is also considering an annexation in Monday’s meeting as well as hiring two police officers and reopening the city pool and museums.