Happy St. Patrick’s Day to my fellow sons and daughters of Hibernia!
Some background for those of you who do not have the pleasure of living in Massachusetts (AKA The Commonwealth of Hackachusetts):
Evacuation Day (which conveniently also happens to be St. Patrick’s Day) is a Suffolk County holiday. Bunker Hill Day is also a Suffolk County holiday. You know what that means – no work for the Hackorama. But it is not just the hacks who work in Suffolk County who get a paid day off. To be “fair” to the rest of the hacks on the state payroll, they are given a floating day off to use at a later date. These ridiculous excuses for a paid day off have come under fire in recent years and now the usual suspects are fighting to keep the perk alive.
Lawmakers fighting to uphold the paid days off for Evacuation Day (March 17) and Bunker Hill Day (June 17) – holidays rarely enjoyed outside of the State House and City Hall – said they were showing “respect” for history.
“I think it’s important to carry on the traditions that ultimately created this great country that we live in,” said state Sen. John Hart (D-South Boston), at a State House hearing.
Hart urged state Sen. Michael Knapik, the Westfield Republican pushing to rein in the holiday atmosphere, to give those venerable days “the respect that history deserves.”
But Knapik said the state can’t afford to allow 35,000 state workers to have those paid days off.
“These two holidays are irrefutably indefensible,” Knapik said. “When we’re in a state that’s approaching 10 percent unemployment, I dont know how we justify the days.”
Hart also accused Knapik of “engaging in histrionics.”
“You’ve created this hysteria that in fact they are hack holidays . . . when in fact that’s not true,” Hart said.
Proponents counter that Evacuation Day marks a major victory by the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War at Dorchester Heights, while Bunker Hill Day marks the pivotal Battle of Bunker Hill.
“I live on G Street at Dorchester Heights,” Hart bellowed. “We live that history day in and day out.”
Hart, one of the most vocal defenders of the holiday’s imporance, skipped Bunker Hill day ceremonies last year in favor of running personal errands, the Herald reported.
Hint: That ain’t Bunker Hill.
It’s Bunker Hill Day in Massachusetts and all Suffolk County employees have the day off. I’ll give you two seconds to guess where the State House is located. Work for the state in another county? Don’t feel left out – you get a floater! And don’t forget about Evacuation Day. That’s St. Patrick’s Day for anyone who lives outside of the Commonwealth. The cost to the taxpayers? $5 million. As the state continues to cut programs and aid, these lame excuses for a paid day off for the hacks in state government has come under fire. Last month, a bill to do away with both “holidays” lost by a slim margin, but it appears to be gaining support.
Fueled by public outrage, a movement to repeal two controversial state holidays celebrated only in Suffolk County is gaining steam on Beacon Hill, earning support from one Senate convert who originally voted to save the off days.
“This year when we are having trouble finding two nickels to scrape together, there seem to be so many other programs that are worthwhile,” said Sen. Susan Fargo (D-Lincoln), who said she didn’t know about the millions Bunker Hill Day and Evacuation Day cost taxpayers when she voted to keep them.
“We’re picking up a lot of momentum,” Tisei said. “We’re going to pick the opponents off one by one.”
Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei (R-Wakefield) said Fargo is one of many colleagues reconsidering their vote to preserve the holidays last month.
I take comfort in the fact that it’s about 48 degrees right now and will barely crack 70 at the beaches.