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County board votes 15-8 not to approve holiday schedule for county employees

Ogle County Board members voted their dissatisfaction last week with the holiday schedule set by the Illinois Supreme Court.

The board voted 15-8 on Sept. 18 against the schedule, which includes 13 holidays for county offices and employees, and sent it back to the Personnel & Salary Committee for further study.

Board member Skip Kenney, Rochelle, said the schedule includes too many holidays.

"I'm going to be voting no for obvious reasons," he said.

Board member Bill Welty, Chana, agreed. He said the holidays are far more numerous than those given by privately-owned businesses.

Board chairman Jim Barnes, who also voted against the schedule, said the board will likely have to adopt it at some point.

"I feel like it will probably stand," he said. "This is a show that we are not happy with what's going on. I don't think it can be changed."

Opposition to the schedule comes up almost every year, but it is eventually adopted.

The holidays are set by the Illinois Supreme Court for the court system, and have been adopted for all county offices and employees.

The same holidays have traditionally been given to avoid the confusion that sometimes results for the public when some county offices are open and others are closed, and also to be fair to all employees.

County clerk Rebecca Huntley voiced her displeasure after the vote.

"Once again the only people you're affecting are the non-union people," she told the board. "The union people already have 13 holidays in their union contracts."

Judge Michael Mallon said Monday that the holiday schedule is not mandatory for all county departments.

"Technically, it affects only the circuit clerk's office," he said.

However, he said that 13 holidays a year are part of the contracts negotiated by the six unions that represent numerous county employees.

Unions represent employees of the sheriff's department, health department, circuit clerk's office, and probation department.

The list of holidays is the same every year, and for 2013 includes Jan.1 for New Year's Day, Jan. 21 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Feb. 12 for Lincoln's Birthday, Feb. 18 for Washington's Birthday, March 29 for Good Friday, May 27 for Memorial Day, July 4 for Independence Day, Sept. 2 for Labor Day, Oct. 14 for Columbus Day, Nov. 11 for Veteran's Day, Nov. 28 and Nov. 29 for Thanksgiving, and Dec. 25 for Christmas.

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