West U City Council recognizes Martin Luther King Jr. Day as official city holiday

With a unanimous vote Oct. 26, West University Place City Council recognized Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an official city holiday. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)
With a unanimous vote Oct. 26, West University Place City Council recognized Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an official city holiday. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)

With a unanimous vote Oct. 26, West University Place City Council recognized Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an official city holiday. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)

West University Place City Council has recognized Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an official city holiday.

The vote to recognize the holiday, taken during council's meeting Oct. 26, was quick and unanimous. The item was added to the agenda by Mayor Bob Higley in the weeks prior.

This comes after a group of West U mothers had pushed for the holiday’s inclusion and inquired about the holiday’s exclusion on the city’s officially recognized list.

The formal recognition also comes after discussion from City Council about adding the holiday to the officially recognized list in July, when council reviewed the city’s personnel policies and employee handbook.

The discussion of adding the holiday was first raised by city council back in the summer prior to any survey being submitted, according to an email from city manager Dave Beach. Beach was given direction to evaluate ways to restructure the city's observed holidays to be more inclusive and had been doing so prior to the Oct. 28 vote.


“I think our choice of holidays as a city reflects to a certain degree our policy and the image of the city to some degree,” Council Member John Barnes said during a July 27 meeting. “In particular, I think it is an anachronism that we do not recognize Martin Luther King [Jr.] Day, which is recognized by every municipality around us and the state and the feds, and we kind of stand out in omission in that regard. I think perhaps it is not a good look for us to not be doing it, and at the same time, it may have impacts on the people that we’re able to attract from elsewhere to come in in ways that we may not necessarily be able to pick up on a survey.”

While council unanimously approved recognizing the holiday in a separate agenda item Oct. 26, it enforced that decision immediately thereafter when it approved the personnel policies and employee handbook, which includes outlining the paid holidays for full-time employees.

With the addition, the city still continues to offer 10 paid holidays. Martin Luther King Jr. Day took the place of what was previously a floating holiday, though it adds approximately $26,000 in cost per year.

The 10 paid holidays include New Years' Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, the day following Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and one additional Christmas holiday.

Correction: An earlier version of the story stated Martin Luther King Jr. Day would have zero impact on the city's budget and that discussion on adding the holiday first began in July 2020. The inclusion of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday adds approximately $26,000 in cost per year and discussion on the holiday addition was first raised by city council in the summer prior to any survey being submitted.
By Hunter Marrow
Hunter Marrow came to Community Impact Newspaper in January 2020. Before that, Hunter covered local news in Ontario, OR for three years, covering municipal issues, crime, and education across Malheur County and across the border into Idaho.


MOST RECENT

key in door lock
Evictions continue in Houston as new measures aim to stem tide

Over 32,000 eviction cases were filed in Harris County courts in 2020.

Houston City Hall in rainbow lighting
Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce celebrates five years of service

The organization is open to all and serves members throughout the Greater Houston area.

The new Fort Bend Epicenter multipurpose facility could be used as a spot for trade shows and sporting events, could act as a large-scale shelter for county residents in an emergency and more. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Large multipurpose complex coming to Fort Bend County; Sugar Land to widen University Blvd. and more top Houston-area news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Houston area.

Snow covers I-45 in Houston during a winter storm that hit Texas the night of Feb. 14. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislators probe energy officials over power failures, lack of preparation heading into winter storm

The Texas Legislature held hearings Feb. 25 with energy companies including Oncor Electric Delivery and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in response to last week’s historic winter storm, which left millions of Texans without electricity for days.

Keith Luechtefeld spoke with Community Impact Newspaper about some of the short-term and long-term repercussions of the storm as well as some of the reasons why so many homes saw burst pipes during the freezing weather. (Community Impact staff)
Q&A: Greater Houston Builders Association President Keith Luechtefeld discusses power, plumbing, frozen pipes after Winter Storm Uri

Keith Luechtefeld spoke with Community Impact Newspaper about some of the short-term and long-term repercussions of the storm as well as some of the reasons why so many homes saw burst pipes during the freezing weather.

Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys will bring a new “H-Town Originals” sandwich to Houston in collaboration with Dr. Peter Hotez, chair of Tropical Pediatrics at Texas Children’s Hospital, co-director of Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development, and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. (Courtesy Liana Bouchard/Legacy Restaurants)
Antone’s Po’ Boys to bring new Dr. Hotez sandwich to Houston

Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys will donate 50% of proceeds from the sales of the sandwich to support the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development.

Winter Storm Uri led to closures across the Greater Houston area during the third week of February. (Courtesy Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County)
‘It’s been a rough year for us’: Expert explains economic effects of winter storm, ongoing pandemic in Houston region

“It's been a rough year for us economically; it's been a rough year for us public health wise. It's just been a rough year for us psychologically—first the coronavirus and then the freeze," said Patrick Jankowski, senior vice president of research with the Greater Houston Partnership.

Rothko Chapel
Rothko Chapel marks 50 years with event series

Houston art patrons John and Dominique de Menil first revealed Rothko Chapel to the public over three days 50 years ago, Feb. 26-28, 1971.

The $560 million central processor, which is part of the new Mickey Leland International Terminal, will replace the parking garage for terminals D and E. (Courtesy Houston Airport System)
Parking garage at George Bush Intercontinental Airport to be demolished to make way for new Mickey Leland International Terminal

The international central processor, which is part of the new Mickey Leland International Terminal, will replace the parking garage for terminals D and E.

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic. (Courtesy Qygen, Wikimedia Commons)
Fry's Electronics calls it quits after nearly 36 years in business

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic.

A lone runner jogs on a snow-covered road in Austin. Transportation projects across the city were briefly paused due to Winter Storm Uri. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
ERCOT: Texas power system was less than 5 minutes from collapse during winter storm

ERCOT's CEO offered details into what led to the massive blackouts that left millions of Texans in the cold last week.