No Juneteenth holiday this year for Westmoreland County government

·2 min read

Jun. 18—Westmoreland County government offices will be open Friday as the federal and state governments, along with neighboring Allegheny County, are closed to observe the Juneteenth holiday.

Westmoreland officials said there are no concrete plans to add Juneteenth to the holiday schedule, but discussions to consider doing so could be in the offing.

"I'm sure we will have internal discussion," said Commissioner Gina Cerilli Thrasher. "Other counties that made Juneteenth a holiday gave up Flag Day. I anticipate an internal discussion if it becomes a federal holiday and other counties declare it one. Of course, it is something we would discuss with the unions, too."

Commissioner Doug Chew on Friday said he favors adding Juneteenth to the county's holiday schedule.

"As I think about it today, this should be celebrated no differently than we celebrate Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day or Independence Day. I would support swapping another county holiday for a day to celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation and Juneteenth," Chew said.

Commissioner Sean Kertes did not respond to a request for comment.

Congress this week passed legislation that was signed into law Thursday by President Biden that establishes June 19 as a federal holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States.

The holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, when a Union general rode into Galveston, Texas, to announce the end of slavery — two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Federal and state offices are closed Friday in observance of the holiday that this year falls on Saturday. Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh last year formally made Juneteenth a holiday.

Westmoreland County government workers will be on the job Friday, and the courthouse in Greensburg will remain open.

The courthouse was closed Monday in observance of Flag Day, one of 13 national holiday's observed by the county government in which employees receive a paid day off.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, or via Twitter .

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