County council opts not to give employees and extra day off for holidays

Clark County Council Chair Marc Boldt wants to give county employees an extra day off for the holidays to say thanks for their work. But the rest of the council won’t let him.

At Wednesday afternoon’s board time meeting, Boldt brought up the idea of granting county employees a commissioners holiday. The holiday (which would be updated to a councilors holiday to reflect how the commission has been changed to a council under the county’s Home Rule Charter) would be a paid-day off employees could take between Dec. 16 and Jan. 31.

Boldt explained that not much goes on at the county during the holidays and it would be a nice way to thank county employees. He noted that the county hasn’t granted the holiday since 2012. Last year, Boldt also unsuccessfully brought up the idea. Then County Councilor Tom Mielke suggested the idea amounted to a gift of public funds, which is prohibited by the state constitution.

This year, the other members of the council (all Republicans) weren’t having it, even after Boldt, an independent, said he’d be fine with just a half day.

“I mean if you’re here between the last two weeks there’s really nothing that goes on,” Boldt said.

“Well, there should be,” replied Councilor Eileen Quiring.

Councilor Julie Olson said that she appreciated Boldt’s idea to thank employees but after working most of her career in the private sector she was unconvinced.

“Our benefits are pretty fair and pretty generous with regard to sick leave and time off,” she said. “And we’re looking at moving into another budget year where it’s going to be tough. I don’t know if I can support it.”

Quiring added that the county shows employees its appreciation in another way: “We pay them, and we give them other holiday opportunities.”

“The human tendency is to remember the year you get something and how unhappy you were the year it was taken away,” said Councilor Jeanne Stewart, who also noted future challenges with the county’s budget.

Councilor John Blom wasn’t at the meeting, but Interim County Manager Jim Rumpeltes said he had never worked for an organization that granted such a holiday.

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