State employees to get ‘Black Friday’ off

For the third time in five years, Gov. Jay Nixon said state employees will get the day after Thanksgiving as an extra holiday.

On Friday, Nixon issued an executive order closing state offices on Nov. 29, “Black Friday” — the traditional start to the Christmas holiday shopping season.

State law closes the government on 12 days each year — New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Lincoln’s Birthday (Feb. 12) , Washington’s Birthday/Presidents Day, Truman’s Birthday (May 8), Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day (Nov. 11), Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But — with exceptions in 2010 and 2011 — governors of both parties for at least five decades added the day after Thanksgiving, by executive order.

In those two years, Nixon said closing the state’s doors that day cost the state too much money — an estimated $1.6 million in state funds, for comp time and overtime pay to those employees, like Highway Patrol troopers, Corrections officers and workers in state-run veterans homes and mental health facilities like Fulton State Hospital, who must work when others are off.

In a Friday afternoon news release, Nixon said: “As our efforts to make government more efficient and effective continue to pay dividends for our budget and our economy, I am pleased to be able to provide state employees with the day off on the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

As usual, law enforcement, public safety and other essential services and facilities will continue to operate, he said.

Three years ago, Nixon asked lawmakers to cancel the Lincoln and Truman birthday holidays, since not part of the federal government’s holidays schedule.

But the Legislature didn’t support those changes.

And, noting they are among the nation’s most poorly paid state government workers, many state employees complained about the lack of that extra day — especially since it’s a special one-day-only, get-there-extra-early day of special prices for many retail businesses seeking to kick-start their holiday shopping season.

Businesses years ago tagged the day as “Black Friday,” as a recognition that it marked the day many of America’s retailers do enough business to be “in the black” financially, and able to make a profit for the year.

During the two years he didn’t include the Black Friday day off, the governor said employees wanting to take the day off could use their personal vacation time.

Earlier coverage, posted at 2:10 p.m. Friday

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said today state employees will get Nov. 29 — the day after Thanksgiving — as an extra holiday.

Nixon issued an executive order closing state offices on the day many in the business world call “Black Friday” — the traditional start to the Christmas holiday shopping season.

Most governors in recent years have awarded the extra day, but — in the early years of his administration — Nixon said closing the state doors that day cost the state too much money.

In a news release this afternoon, Nixon said: “As our efforts to make government more efficient and effective continue to pay dividends for our budget and our economy, I am pleased to be able to provide state employees with the day off on the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

Law enforcement, public safety and other essential services and facilities will continue to operate as usual, he said.

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