Most Ottawa County workers will be enjoying a four-day Christmas break thanks to the county commissioners.
Christmas falls on Tuesday this year. In recent weeks, the three-man board decided to also keep the Ottawa County Courthouse closed Monday, Dec. 24 – amounting to a four-day holiday.
“As you know, we have not given raises or other compensation to our workers for the last several years,” Ottawa County Commissioner Steve Arndt said. “So this is our way to extend a thank you without incurring an additional expense for an ongoing basis.”
Tight budget constraints have forced the county government to keep a tight hold on any raise packages. Only some of those workers covered by union contracts have received raises in the past five years.
Operations which require 24-hour service, such as law enforcement and utilities, will remain open, according to the resolution.
Taking the additional day off also makes sense in another financial way, Arndt explained.
“We don’t have to reheat the courthouse after the weekend and then close it down again,” he said. Traditionally, the courthouse has closed early on Christmas Eve and the place is relatively desolate in the hours counting down to Christmas Day.
Commissioners opted to make the decision early so that workers could make plans accordingly.
In the past, when the calendar created a similar situation, the commissioners closed the courthouse but required the workers to take a vacation day to compensate.
“We wanted to let people know ahead of time that they didn’t have to do this,” Arndt said.