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County offices to be open Dec. 26

December 12, 1997

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Berkeley County Commission voted Thursday to close county offices at noon on Christmas Eve, but to be open for business on Dec. 26.

The courthouse will be open on Dec. 26 even though federal and state offices are closed the day after Christmas.

President Clinton issued an executive order giving federal employees the extra day off. Gov. Cecil Underwood made both Dec. 26 and Jan. 2 holidays for state workers.

"You've got to face up to the fact that you're giving up 'X' amount of dollars" by making the day after Christmas a holiday, said Commission President James Smith.

"I don't mind being benevolent, but not with taxpayers' money," Commissioner Robert L. Burkhart said.

Commissioner D. Wayne Dunham voted against the motion for the half-day closing on Dec. 24, but favored closing county offices the day after Christmas to give employees more time with their families.

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Smith and Burkhart said they weren't trying to be Scrooges, but noted the cost to the county. In addition to giving the employees a paid day off, those who have to work - sheriff's deputies and 911 dispatchers for example - would have to receive higher holiday pay, they said.

- Don Aines

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