Instead of closing in observance of Columbus Day on Oct. 14, Bexley City Hall will be open and city employees will have the option of choosing another paid day off, "Bexley Day," if an ordinance under consideration passes.
Ordinance 23-19, which had its first reading before City Council on Aug. 20, states, "At the discretion of the mayor, the city offices may remain open on Bexley Day, and this may be a floating holiday. Employees may request this day off with pay through the year. Bexley Day must be used by Dec. 31 of each calendar year or it will be forfeited."
Mayor Ben Kessler said he got the idea to change Columbus Day to Bexley Day and give employees the option of when to observe the latter after researching the history of Columbus Day.
Columbus Day, named after Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, has been opposed in recent years by groups stating Columbus' arrival in the Americans in 1492 resulted in the genocide of Native Americans and the beginning of the transatlantic slave trade, according to History.com.
Bexley City Hall will open on Columbus Day this year, Kessler said.
"We're going to remain open and allow staff to have a floating holiday," Kessler said.
The change will not result in "any cost or implication to the city other than, frankly, we will be open a little bit more every year than we were before."
City Attorney Marc Fishel said the city already has negotiated changing Columbus Day to Bexley Day with bargaining units that represent the city's police dispatchers and Service Department employees, but has not negotiated with a separate bargaining unit that represents police sergeants and patrol officers.
Kessler said bargaining-unit employees whose contracts already have been negotiated with the city will observe Bexley Day on the second Monday in August each year, and did so on Aug. 12 this year. Ordinance 23-19 will allow individual city employees who don't belong to a bargaining unit to choose when to observe Bexley Day, he said.
The legislation, if approved, also would extend sick leave accrual to the city's part-time and seasonal employees. Sick leave currently is available only to full-time employees, Fishel said.
The ordinance would change sick leave accrual for full-time employees from 10 hours per month to 4.6 hours per 80-hour, biweekly pay period. Employees who work fewer than 80 hours per biweekly pay period will earn a pro-rated share of sick leave.
If approved, the ordinance would be retroactive to Sept. 1, 2017, for current city employees who work fewer than 80 hours per biweekly pay period, Fishel said.
"We will then figure out what sick leave they should have earned under Ohio law and credit it to their account," he said.
Council's third and final reading of the ordinance is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, at Bexley City Hall, 2242 E. Main St.