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CITY OF CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA

CITY COUNCIL AGENDA

Agenda Date: July 1, 2019

Action Required: Ordinance Amendment

Staff Contacts: John Blair, City Attorney

Presenter: John Blair, City Attorney

Title: Amend Section 2-6 of the Charlottesville City Code


2nd of 2 Readings

Background:
On September 20, 1933, the Charlottesville City Council adopted a resolution recognizing five
official City holidays: New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and
Christmas. In examining the Council’s minutes, the City Attorney’s Office could not find any
other City Council action regarding City holidays until 1945. On December 3, 1945, the
Charlottesville City Council adopted a resolution recognizing eight official City holidays
including the observation of Thomas Jefferson’s birthday on April 13. This is the first
recognition of April 13 as an official City holiday contained in the Council’s minutes. A
December 4, 1945 Daily Progress story indicates that the City adopted its holiday schedule to
mirror the holiday schedule adopted by the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors adopted in
November of 1945.

On January 4, 1971, the Charlottesville City Council enacted City Code Section 2-189.1
codifying the legal holidays observed by the City of Charlottesville. The 1971 ordinance
designated April 13 as a city holiday to observe Thomas Jefferson’s birthday.

On September 5, 2017, the Charlottesville City Council adopted a resolution that recognized
March 3 as Liberation Day within the city, but did not codify it as a legal holiday. A copy of the
September 5, 2017 Council Memorandum and Resolution is attached to this memorandum.

On June 3, 2019, Mayor Walker requested that a future Council agenda consider removing April
13 as an official city holiday and making Liberation and Freedom Day an official city holiday.

On June 17, 2019, the Council discussed Mayor Walker’s proposal. At the end of the discussion,
a majority of Council requested that City Code Section 2-6 be amended to remove observation of
Thomas Jefferson’s birthday on April 13 as a City holiday. The Council also discussed
amending City Code Section 2-6 to observe March 3 as Liberation and Freedom Day. A majority
of Council also appeared to support adding March 3 as an official City holiday, but not adding
March 4 as an official City holiday. Finally, the Council requested separate votes on the
ordinance deletion of April 13 as a City holiday and the ordinance amendment to add March 3 as
a City holiday.
Discussion:
On March 3, 1865, United States Army forces under the command of Major General Philip H.
Sheridan arrived in Charlottesville, Virginia and remained in the area until March 6, 1865. From
March 3 to March 6, 1865, area African-Americans emancipated themselves from enslavement.

Mayor Walker is proposing that the City of Charlottesville recognize March 3 as an official City
holiday to be known as Liberation and Freedom Day. Additionally, Mayor Walker also proposed
adding March 4 as an official City holiday.

April 13 would no longer be recognized as an official City holiday if Mayor Walker’s proposal is
adopted.

At the June 17 Council meeting, Councilors Signer and Hill asked City Manager Richardson to
gather employee feedback about the proposed March 3 holiday. Dr. Richardson has spoken to a
number of City employees, and he reports that most of the City employees he spoke to favored
receiving a floating holiday. If the Council desires to adopt a floating holiday for employees
rather than March 3 as an official City holiday, an ordinance amendment would not be necessary.
Instead, the Council can, by resolution, request Dr. Richardson to amend the City’s Human
Resources Personnel Policies to reflect the floating holiday.

One additional ordinance change for the Council’s consideration if it decides to adopt Mayor
Walker’s original proposal is the treatment of March 3 and 4 when March 3 occurs on a Friday
and March 4 occurs on a Saturday. That version of the proposed ordinance would provide that
the City would recognize the March 4 holiday on Monday March 6.

If the ordinance amendments are approved, the City’s Human Resources Personnel Policies
would be amended to reflect the ordinance, and City employees would receive notification of the
change in the holiday schedule.

Budgetary Impact:
An additional city holiday would have a budgetary impact of approximately $62,500 in Fiscal
Year 2020 if the Council adopts the proposal to make March 3 and March 4 official City
holidays.

Attachments:
Proposed Ordinance Removing April 13 as an official City holiday
Proposed Ordinance Adding March 3 and March 4 as official City holidays
Proposed Ordinance Adding March 3 as a City holiday
2017 Liberation Day Council Memorandum and Resolution
AN ORDINANCE
AMENDING SECTION 2-6
OF CHAPTER 2 (ADMINISTRATION)

BE IT ORDAINED by the Council for the City of Charlottesville, Virginia, that:

Section 2-6 of Chapter 2 of the Code of the City of Charlottesville (1990) is amended as follows:

Sec. 2-6. - Legal holidays.

In each year, the first day of January (New Year's Day), the third Monday in January (Martin
Luther King, Jr. Day), the third Monday in February (George Washington Day), the thirteenth
day of April (Jefferson's Birthday), the last Monday in May (Memorial Day), the fourth day of
July (Independence Day), the first Monday in September (Labor Day), the eleventh day of
November (Veterans Day), the fourth Thursday in November (Thanksgiving Day), the Friday
after the fourth Thursday in November, the twenty-fifth day of December (Christmas Day) or,
whenever any of such days shall fall on Saturday, the preceding Friday shall be a legal holiday,
and whenever such days shall fall on Sunday, the Monday next following such day shall be a
legal holiday.
AN ORDINANCE
AMENDING SECTION 2-6
OF CHAPTER 2 (ADMINISTRATION)

BE IT ORDAINED by the Council for the City of Charlottesville, Virginia, that:

Section 2-6 of Chapter 2 of the Code of the City of Charlottesville (1990) is amended as follows:

Sec. 2-6. - Legal holidays.

In each year, the first day of January (New Year's Day), the third Monday in January (Martin
Luther King, Jr. Day), the third Monday in February (George Washington Day), the third day of
March (Freedom and Liberation Day), the thirteenth day of April (Jefferson's Birthday), the last
Monday in May (Memorial Day), the fourth day of July (Independence Day), the first Monday in
September (Labor Day), the eleventh day of November (Veterans Day), the fourth Thursday in
November (Thanksgiving Day), the Friday after the fourth Thursday in November, the twenty-
fifth day of December (Christmas Day) or, whenever any of such days shall fall on Saturday, the
preceding Friday shall be a legal holiday, and whenever such days shall fall on Sunday, the
Monday next following such day shall be a legal holiday.
AN ORDINANCE
AMENDING SECTION 2-6
OF CHAPTER 2 (ADMINISTRATION)

BE IT ORDAINED by the Council for the City of Charlottesville, Virginia, that:

Section 2-6 of Chapter 2 of the Code of the City of Charlottesville (1990) is amended as follows:

Sec. 2-6. - Legal holidays.

In each year, the first day of January (New Year's Day), the third Monday in January (Martin
Luther King, Jr. Day), the third Monday in February (George Washington Day), the third day of
March (Freedom and Liberation Day), the fourth day of March, the last Monday in May
(Memorial Day), the fourth day of July (Independence Day), the first Monday in September
(Labor Day), the eleventh day of November (Veterans Day), the fourth Thursday in November
(Thanksgiving Day), the Friday after the fourth Thursday in November, the twenty-fifth day of
December (Christmas Day) or, whenever any of such days shall fall on Saturday, the preceding
Friday shall be a legal holiday, and whenever such days shall fall on Sunday, the Monday next
following such day shall be a legal holiday. When the fourth day of March occurs on a Saturday,
the sixth day of March shall be a legal holiday.