by Max Brantley
I've been chastised as a Scrooge for observing how city, county and state officials have been working to build five-day and longer weekends around Christmas and New Year's, courtesy of taxpayers. No more grumping, just an observation.
A reader sends along a snippet from the University of Arkansas, which has turned the two-week period into a virtually seamless holiday, Dec. 24-Jan. 4, inclusive.
Some of the days during this period are official state holidays: Christmas Eve (Dec. 24), Christmas Day (Dec. 25) and New Year's Day (Jan. 1). Dec. 26 has been declared an additional holiday by Governor Beebe. Other days are taken in lieu of state or federal holidays on which the University does not close (Dec. 29, in lieu of Veteran's Day; and Dec. 30, in lieu of the employee's birthday.) However, one day, Dec. 31, would ordinarily be charged to employees' annual leave. Governor Beebe has granted the University permission to allow UA employees who do not wish to use their annual leave on that day to work extra hours, as needed, during the earlier part of Dec. 2008, to avoid being charged annual leave for Dec. 31. Additionally, in order to conserve energy costs, the University will be closed on Jan. 2. Employees will be granted the opportunity to work extra hours, as needed, during the month of Jan. to avoid being charged annual leave for Jan. 2.
Don't tell the county judge about this scheme, please.