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Staunton gets Christmas Eve

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Waynesboro City Council famously didn’t see fit to give city employees a half-day for Christmas Eve, evoking images of Scrooge and the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. So what do we make of Staunton City Council now that it has voted to give not a half-day to city employees, but a full-day?

“We’re a significant employer in this city. There are 240-some people working for the city. And they are some of the most dedicated people you’re going to meet. This is a very small way of saying thank-you to these people, and a signal to them of how much we appreciate them,” City Councilman Bruce Elder said of last night’s vote to give employees Christmas Eve off.

On Monday night, the City Council in Waynesboro failed to even record a vote on the proposal of Councilwoman Nancy Dowdy to give employees a half-day on Christmas Eve, which this year falls on a Wednesday. Councilman Bruce Allen, citing his conservative background and his desire to “do my best to save the money and spend it the wiseliest that we can for all the taxpayers of this city,” balked at the notion, as did Mayor Tim Williams, who you might remember is leading another crusade to double the salaries of council members at the same time that city employees are getting by with a 1.5 percent raise in the current fiscal year.

“All of our cities are facing budget dilemmas and challenges,” said Elder, who went to a city employees recognition luncheon this week and told the group, “Look, you are the guys who keep the promises we make.”

“Even if you said, I’m a hard-liner – think of how many people do their last-minute Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve?” Elder said. “I’m as bad about that as anybody. I’ll probably be getting stuff for stockings Christmas Eve. I think all of us who have families are probably busy doing that,” Elder said.

 

Story by Chris Graham

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