Georgia mayor vetoes making Juneteenth a paid holiday


To exploreJuneteenth is now a paid holiday for Georgia employees

Marietta’s holiday discussion quickly turned into a debate over why Juneteenth should be added to the city’s holiday calendar when it omits Veterans Day. Longtime mayor Steve “Thunder” Tumlin said that was the main reason he vetoed the article.

“I would hate to do one and not the other,” Tumlin said at the city council meeting, noting the city’s connection to military sites including Dobbins Air Reserve Base and Lockheed Martin. “Veterans Day is extremely important.”

The veto, which came more than three hours into Wednesday’s meeting, prompted several residents and activists to express their disappointment.

I’ve been quite proud of the city I’ve lived in, but I have to say with great disdain that I’m very disappointed that this was even a conversation we needed to have,” Jeriene Bonner Grimes, NAACP President of Cobb County. , said at the meeting.

The cost of adding a holiday

Wednesday wasn’t the first time Juneteenth was discussed at Marietta.

The NAACP has held an annual Juneteenth Festival in Marietta Square for more than 15 years, and Cobb County voted last year to make it a state holiday. It has also been a topic of discussion in town meetings and committees.

Richardson attempted to take the matter to the city’s Personnel and Insurance Committee, which she chairs, but the proposal was not passed due to opposition from council members Griffin Chalfant and Johnny Walker, reported the Marietta Daily Journal. However, Richardson was able to add the item to Wednesday’s regular meeting agenda, prompting the comparison of Juneteenth to Veterans Day.

Richardson, who said she was the only veteran on the city council, added that she would be willing to host the city’s June 16 and Veterans Day holiday, but she said it won’t. wasn’t what they were discussing on Wednesday.

“I think it’s a separate vote,” she said. “As you (Tumlin) said, (Veterans Day) has been around since 1918…and it wasn’t brought up as a holiday until today. And I think putting them together, it’s is to say that the only way to be sustained is if both happen.

The city currently has 10 paid holidays for employees and may add more, but each would cost about $50,000 to $55,000, according to City Manager Bill Bruton.

The vote passed 4-3, with Joseph Goldstein, Mr. Carlyle Kent and Andre Sims joining Richardson in voting yes. Chalfant, Walker and Andy Morris all voted against the vacation. After the mayor’s veto, the vote to override the veto fell within the same voting lines and failed as the waiver required five votes.

Tumlin, who said he favors a closer look at June 19 and Veterans Day, did not immediately respond to the AJC’s request for comment regarding his veto. But he told the Marietta Daily Journal after the vote that Veterans Day is “many times more inclusive” because “everyone has veterans in their family.”

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In addition to the county’s NAACP president, four other community members spoke at the end of the meeting to chastise the mayor’s decision.

“I am the grandson of a World War II veteran,” said Gerald Griggs, a Cobb resident and attorney. “I am the son of a Vietnam veteran who worked in the town of Marietta as a postal clerk. He’d be ashamed of what you just did, so don’t talk to me about the veterans. I love veterans. I am the son of a veteran, but I am also the great-great-great-grandson of a slave.

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