The Boston City Council may be statutorily weak but it has the power to do away with the outworn tradition of not meeting on the Wednesday following a Monday holiday. The practice appears downright moldy in the case of so-called “hack holidays” — Evacuation Day (March 17) and Bunker Hill Day (June 17).
Even the hard-to-embarrass state Legislature saw the light in 2010 and passed a law requiring government offices in Suffolk County to remain open for business on Evacuation Day and Bunker Hill Day. Boston City Council President Stephen Murphy couldn’t override the Legislature, so he apparently did the next best thing this week by not scheduling the usual Wednesday council meeting. It was a sorry display.
Evacuation Day and Bunker Hill Day mark important events in the history of the American Revolution. But private-sector employees don’t receive days off and resent being bamboozled out of two days of government service. It’s time for the City Council to put an end entirely to the shenanigans associated with these holidays. And that means maintaining the normal meeting schedule.
With the exception of recent hires, most city employees in Boston still receive two floating days off in lieu of the Evacuation Day and Bunker Hill holidays. That vestige of wasteful union contracts needs to be addressed in future labor negotiations with city employees. The two floating days may not appear in holiday wrapping, but they are just as big an affront to taxpayers. Boston needs to make a clean break with hack holidays and their shadowy doubles. And Murphy should start showing some leadership.