Missouri to observe national day of mourning

Most state employees will get the day off, costing the state about $10 million.
Thursday, June 10, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:48 p.m. CDT, Monday, June 30, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — The decision to close state government Friday in honor of Ronald Reagan will cost about $10 million in both regular payroll and extra overtime costs, state officials said Wednesday.

Gov. Bob Holden announced earlier this week that most Missouri state offices will close Friday and most employees will have the day off as part of a national day of mourning for the former president.

Federal offices and major financial markets will also be closed Friday. Reagan, 93, died Saturday of pneumonia after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Even with the government closings, some employees — largely those working in prisons or mental health facilities — must work Friday. The money needed to cover their overtime pay, or provide them another day off later, amounts to about $1.1 million, state budget director Linda Luebbering said.

The overall cost for a typical day’s worth of salary and benefits for the nearly 62,000 state workers is about $8.9 million, including about $4.7 million in general state revenue, Luebbering said, with the rest coming from other sources, such as federal money.

While that money would have been spent anyway, now it’s paying people for a day off work. Luebbering said some of that lost productivity should be made up by employees simply working harder next week to get caught up.

There is no standard protocol for how local governments around the state are handling Friday.

Jackson County government, for example, chose to remain open, so its costs won’t change.

But Cole County, where Jefferson City is located, is closing to coincide with state and federal government shutdowns.

Cole County Sheriff George Brooks said that deputies who must work that day will receive compensatory time off later to make up for it, but not extra holiday pay.

The city of St. Louis also is declaring a holiday and giving most workers the day off. But Ed Rhode, a spokesman for Mayor Francis Slay, said those scheduled to work in the police and fire departments will be on the job as usual and paid at regular rates.

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