A few readers have written in to ask (and undoubtedly this means that many other readers were wondering the same thing): Will President Bush give federal employees the day off on Monday, December 24th?
Here is my best guess: Yes, he will give most federal employees December 24th off in what amounts to an additional federal holiday.
For those skeptics who may be wondering, who is this guy and where does he get this information? Is this a wild rumor or just mere speculation? And, for those readers who may be avid Democrats or just don’t like any action taken by the President, you may be wondering: "Why would a Republican President give us the day off?"
As to the first question, this isn’t a guess. The information comes from the White House in an executive entitled "Closing of Executive Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government on Monday, December 24, 2007." The executive order reads, in part: "All executive branch departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall be closed and their employees excused from duty on Monday, December 24, 2007, the day before Christmas Day, except as provided in section 2…."
The 24th of December will be treated in accordance "within the scope of Executive Order 11582". That order defines a holiday for the federal workforce. In effect, December 24th will be a federal holiday for most federal employees. But most federal employees in this case does not include Postal Service workers.
Some employees will have to come to work though. The Executive Order says that "The heads of executive branch departments and agencies may determine that certain offices and installations of their organizations, or parts thereof, must remain open and that certain employees must report for duty on December 24, 2007, for reasons of national security or defense or other public need." In effect, this means that some federal employees will have to work because of the agency’s mission.
And, as to the question of "Why would a Republican President give us the day off?" here are a couple of possibilities.
According to OPM Director Linda Springer: ""President Bush acknowledges the important contributions America’s federal employees make each day to ensure the success and security of our nation. So in the spirit of the season, President Bush is making it possible for these dedicated Americans to spend this precious four-day period with family and friends."
So perhaps it is just a Christmas present and he is not the bad guy some people seem to think he is. Or, perhaps, the White House staff wanted to see if people who normally attack him on the internet would find it in their hearts to make a positive comment. Or, perhaps, it is a conspiracy no one has yet articulated.
But, regardless of the reason, don’t look this gift horse in the mouth. Most readers will have the day off on December 24th. So, from President Bush to the federal workforce: Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or just enjoy your day off!