Should Brattleboro recognize MLK Jr. Day?

BRATTLEBORO -- The Selectboard will continue its discussion Tuesday about making Martin Luther King Jr. Day an official town holiday.

The town does not recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day and at a selectboard meeting on March 18 Everyone's Books co-owner Nancy Braus asked the board to consider making it an official town holiday.

The board that night asked interim Town Manager Patrick Moreland to come back to a future meeting with more information about the holidays the town does observe, and how recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. Day might affect the staff and town operations.

Moreland included a memo in the meeting packet for this Tuesday night's Selectboard meeting and the topic has been included in the agenda.

According to the memo the board has authority to make changes to the holiday schedule for non-union staff members.

But Moreland said the various unions that represent town staff would have to approve any changes to the holiday schedule.

If the Selectboard did agree to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day the board would have to retire the equivalent of one holiday.

Moreland, in the memo, recommends that either the day after Thanksgiving be made a regular work day, or the half-day holiday days of Christmas Eve day and New Year's Eve day be made work days.

Currently the day after Thanksgiving is a paid holiday for town staff.

Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve are both half-day holiday for staff.

Staff at Brooks Memorial Library work the day after Thanksgiving and the library is closed on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Prior to the March 18 meeting Braus wrote a letter to the board stating that "Every year we have local residents and customers from out of town who find it disconcerting, unsettling, backwards, and to some, racist that the town collects parking fines on Martin Luther King Day, but no other major holidays," she wrote.

At the meeting she asked the board to make the change.

The board that night seemed willing to at least consider the change, and the members will continue their discussion Tuesday.

This week's Selectboard meeting is scheduled for tonight, Tuesday, Aug. 5, at 6:15 p.m. in the Selectboard Meeting Room.


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