Who's open? Who's closed? On Columbus Day, a scorecard helps

10/14/2013 3:24 PM

10/14/2013 3:51 PM

Federal offices are closed Monday because of Columbus Day, not the shutdown. The mail won’t arrive. Placer and Sacramento county offices are shuttered, while it’s business as usual in El Dorado and Yolo counties.

As for the state?

Columbus Day was eliminated as a holiday for most state workers in 2009, but not for all.

Staffers who work for the state courts, whether at the superior courthouses in each county, appellate courts or state Supreme Court, had the day off.

But for employees at state agencies, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Board of Equalization, Monday was a normal workday.

It was also not a holiday for workers within the University of California or California State University systems.

“We lost Columbus Day and Lincoln’s Day in 2009,” sad Pat McConahay, spokeswoman for the California Department of Personnel Administration.

“It was part of the budget that was passed in 2009. It came down through the Schwarzenegger administration.”

In 2009, the state was facing a $11 billion shortfall. Then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed a budget that would cut wages and benefits of state workers by $1.4 billion.

The cuts included the loss of two paid holidays, Columbus Day and Lincoln’s Birthday, the furloughing of state workers and elimination of overtime pay for holidays.

Jim Zamora, spokesman for SEIU 1000, which represents state employees, said there was some dispute that went back and forth between the union and the state over the proposed cuts, but eventually, the union signed off on the elimination of the two holidays.

“Columbus Day is no longer a state holiday,” he said. “But it doesn’t mean that the holiday doesn’t exist. It just means that for state employees, it’s no longer a day off.”

However, the workers for the state courts were not subject to those conditions, since they operate under the State Judicial Council.

“It’s an issue of different jurisdiction,” said Zamora. “They have the discretion on how they take the day off.”

A full list of local closures can be found here.

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