BERNALILLO — A 4-to-1 vote replaced a two-day paid holiday for Sandoval County employees with a two-day floating holiday that will keep the county from shutting down for two days in the spring, saving $27,000.
County Manager Dianne Maes presented the county commission with an idea to consider a one-day floating holiday or a two-day floating holiday in place of the two-day holiday on specific dates that had been passed late last year.
Shutting down the county for two days costs $27,000 plus taxes in public-safety overtime pay, said county spokeswoman Melissa Perez. Employees taking off two days at different times removes that cost.
Commissioner Kenneth Eichwald, who cast the dissenting vote, said the commission had barely voted for the two-day paid holiday to run less than a year ago, and he didn’t understand the need for a change.
“We really haven’t given this thing a chance to see how it will play out as time goes on,” Eichwald said. “After we voted for this, I don’t know how many people came up to me from the county and thanked me for pushing this through. I told them it wasn’t me, it was the entire commission, but, just the same, I was for it.”
Eichwald, who called the two-day paid holiday spring break, said he knew county employees appreciated this initiative since they haven’t received raises in a few years.
“If we repeal this for the floating holiday, some of the county employees can’t take that time off,” he said.
Josie Romero, who works in the treasurer’s office, said it meant a lot to her and her co-workers to have the two-day spring break holiday because it gave them important time to spend with their families.
“We are strict on our schedule in the treasurer’s office because we do collections and are not able to take off during certain times of the year,” Romero said. “We ask that you allow us to keep those holidays. It shows us that we are important to you.”
Commissioner Katherine Bruch said many companies around the world run 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, and have no choice but to create floating holidays.
“I come from a working background, and it doesn’t make sense to me to close down operations for two days, especially at the cost we accrue because of it,” Bruch said. “We need to look at this issue from a different angle and be more cost-efficient in doing so.”
Bruch said county employees would not lose their vacation time; rather, they would have to find other times during the year to take off.
Other items passed included:
• An agreement to renew Maes’ contract;
• Approval of a professional services agreement with Presbyterian Medical Services for ambulance transport to unincorporated areas; and
• Approval of a beer and wine license for Blades Bistro in Placitas.