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Floyd County will switch from MLK Jr. Day to President’s Day for paid holiday

Floyd County will switch from MLK Jr. Day to President's Day for paid holiday
Photos and information about Martin Luther King Jr. are posted on the second floor of the Floyd County courthouse, near a display by local women’s suffrage leader Carrie Lane Chapman Catt.
By Bob Steenson,

Employees of Floyd County will get President’s Day off as a paid holiday next year instead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, after action taken at a Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday morning.

The three supervisors have discussed the topic a couple of times recently before making the action official. It came up first during a meeting Nov. 25 when the board was discussing whether to give employees a half-day paid holiday on Christmas Eve and close the courthouse early.

The supervisors agreed with the Christmas Eve idea and made that official also as part of Tuesday’s action.

But also during that November discussion, Supervisor Chairman Doug Kamm suggested the county alternate between President’s Day and MLK Jr. Day for one of the paid holidays.

“I’m saying we ought to one year do Martin Luther King, one year do President’s Day,” Kamm said.

Supervisor Roy Schwickerath said he was concerned that might be confusing to employees if it changes each year.

Supervisor Linda Tjaden said she was OK with changing the paid county holiday to President’s Day, but agreed it shouldn’t switch back and forth.

County Auditor Gloria Carr said she thought most employees would prefer President’s Day, because it happens in February instead of January where MLK Jr. Day falls, and better breaks up the time between the Christmas-New Year’s holidays and Memorial Day.

But Carr also noted the state observes MLK Jr. Day as a paid holiday, meaning the court offices in the courthouse will be closed that day.

The holidays topic was listed on the agenda for possible action Tuesday, and early in the meeting, during the time for public comments, County Treasurer Frank Rottinghaus read a statement he had prepared urging the board to continue recognizing MLK Jr. Day as a county holiday.

“I’m sure you are aware that Doctor King was one of our nation’s preeminent civil rights leaders in our continuing struggle to provide equity to all people,” Rottinghaus said. “His birth date will be celebrated as an official holiday this year by the federal government, the state of Iowa, the federal reserve banking system, the Charles City School District and many if not most other states and localities across the country.

“When Floyd County first officially observed this holiday it was meant to be confirmation that we are a welcoming and respectful community. I hope by your actions today we continue to project that image,” Rottinghaus said.

Later in the meeting, when the agenda item came up, Schwickerath said, “I think the thing that people forget is, because we give people a day off or don’t give people a day off doesn’t mean they can’t observe a day. They can do things based on that. I get a little frustrated with that.”

Kamm said, “It is not meant to be an intentional slam, as Frank seemed to lay out here.”

Tjaden said, “The comment that he made that we want to make sure that we’re respectful, I want to say we are. I in no way want to make it sound like we’re not, you know, by choosing one over the other.”

Schwickerath said, “Even if we don’t use it as the holiday for our schedule doesn’t mean we still can’t have a program in the courthouse that day.”

“Absolutely,” Tjaden said, adding that because the supervisors approve the holiday schedule every year they could revisit the topic in the future if they want to.

The supervisors unanimously approved a county paid holiday schedule of New Year’s Day; President’s Day; Memorial Day; Independence Day, which will be taken on Friday, July 3, next year because the Fourth falls on Saturday; Labor Day; Veterans Day; Thanksgiving Day; the Friday after Thanksgiving Day; half day on Christmas Eve with the courthouse closing at noon; and Christmas Day.

Also at the meeting Tuesday, the board:

• Continued approving contracts for the law enforcement center and courthouse update project. Approved Tuesday was a contract with MPC Enterprises Inc. of Mount Pleasant for structural precast panels, for $1,339,400, and a contract with Young Plumbing & Heating of Waterloo for $2,725,400 for plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

• Approved an agreement for Floyd County to be the contractor on an Iowa Child Abuse Prevention Program grant application.

• Approved hiring Bruce Koebrick as an equipment operator II with the county secondary roads department, effective Monday.

• Heard from County Engineer Dusten Rolando that he is looking at purchasing 3.95 acres of property in Rockford for a sand-salt storage facility and eventually for a new county shed to house equipment to help serve the western part of the county.