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Tift County

TIFTON — In a split decision needing the commission chair to break the tie, Tift County decided to switch a paid holiday from its list in favor of putting Juneteenth into the roster.

Divided between swapping the holiday in and taking another out and simply adding it to the current list, Tift County Commission decided in a 3-4 vote to replace Good Friday with Juneteenth as a county-paid holiday.

Good Friday was ultimately chosen out of the list of county holidays due to the lower level of significance compared to days such as Christmas and Thanksgiving, as well as it lacking the designation of a school holiday, as County Manager Jim Carter pointed out.

Commissioners Donnie Hester, Melissa Hughes and Stan Stalnaker were the trio against the swap, preferring to add Juneteenth to the paid holiday list.

Hughes lobbied for the addition at both the March 13 meeting and the board’s previous discussion March 7, saying she believes removing one of the existing holidays to make room for Juneteenth would lower morale in the already busy and understaffed county departments.

Hughes argued the addition would not only be financially feasible for the county but it would place them alongside the city and state governments at 11 holidays.

Hester reiterated from the previous meeting that he dislikes the concept of removing a holiday, as even minor days such as Christmas Eve or Black Friday may be vitally important to someone.

Tift County Commission Chairman Tony McBrayer said he believes the switch method would be more cost-effective than the addition, a sentiment echoed by Commissioners Paul Webb, Greg Wood and Buck Rigdon.

Ultimately, two decisions were carried out: a unanimous vote saw the county recognizing Juneteenth as an official county holiday, followed by the second motion to switch the new paid holiday for Good Friday.

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