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Evacuation Day’s end will cost you

Despite eliminating so called “hack holidays” for state employees, taxpayers won’t find a pot of gold this St. Patrick’s Day.  

Despite eliminating so called “hack holidays” for state employees, taxpayers won’t find a pot of gold this St. Patrick’s Day.

Last summer, lawmakers axed Evacuation Day (March 17) and Bunker Hill Day (June 17) as Suffolk County holidays because they reportedly cost the state $5 million annually. But while the amendment calls for state agencies to “appropriately staff” offices this year, the holidays are still included in some union contracts, meaning employees will receive overtime for working.

“At least in the short term, this reform will cost taxpayers more money,” said Michael Widmer of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. “It’s classic Massachusetts: the legislature is reluctant to deal with the unions and to make a change.

“It’s the illusion of reform rather than real reform.”

Before the amendment, about 35,000 workers had the day off, but it is too early to determine how much overtime will be paid tomorrow. Boston alone will spend $1.53 million on the holidays this year.

“It’s frustrating because it’s not money I budgeted,” Revere Mayor Tom Ambrosino said, “but we’ll have skeleton crews; one person per office.”

Gov. Deval Patrick has ordered managers, who don’t get overtime, to work tomorrow.

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