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New holidays are recognized by Birmingham

By Grace Lovins

Birmingham city commissioners voted to recognize several holidays at their meeting on Monday, July 10, adding multiple new holidays to the city code and preventing future meetings from falling on specific holidays.

According to the meeting packet, city staff reviewed state, federal and previously recognized holidays and identified additions to the list for the commission to consider. Public meetings would no longer be scheduled on all but one of the additions, eliminating barriers that could hinder public participation required by the Open Meetings Act, said human resources manager Christina Woods.

“It seems like every year we go through this issue where there are meetings held on certain holidays that don’t appear if you’re not in that culture or religion. You don’t realize it’s the holiday but some start at sunset and they go to sundown,” said city manager Jana Ecker. “This past year we did have an issue where there were multiple city meetings that were essentially booked in that realm of sunset to sunrise and the ordinance resolution was not clear.”

Holidays that will now be recognized include the Chinese New Year, Purim, Holi, Maundy Thursday, Holy Friday, Pascha/Easter and Bodhi Day. Staff also suggested Juneteenth – recently designated as a legal holiday both federally and state-wide – be recognized by Birmingham.

Woods stated that a recent union agreement made between the city and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) announced Juneteenth as a paid holiday. Unlike the other holidays, city hall offices will now be closed and employees that receive paid holiday benefits will be offered paid time off.

The commission voted 5-0 to approve the addition of the holiday, preventing public meetings from being scheduled on those days, and to designate Juneteenth as a city hall closure date. Commissioners Clinton Baller and Katie Schafer were absent from the meeting.


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