Dec. 26 won’t be a state holiday this year |

Dec. 26 won’t be a state holiday this year

President George Bush’s executive order giving federal workers a day off on Friday, the day after Christmas, doesn’t mean Nevada state workers get it off, too.

Bush did so to give federal workers a four day weekend since Christmas, this year, falls on a Thursday.

Chris Nielsen, legal counsel to Gov. Jim Gibbons, quoted a 1979 Attorney General’s Opinion, a presidential proclamation declaring a holiday for federal workers “does not establish a legal holiday for state and county government officers” in Nevada.

“So President Bush’s executive order doesn’t create an additional holiday for the state,” he said.

“In fact, he has no authority to just declare a holiday.”

Jim Spencer, chief of staff for the Attorney General, said the governor used to have the power to declare a holiday for Nevada state workers.

He said that power was removed from the Nevada law by the 1987 Legislature.

“So the governor can no longer do that,” he said.

Nielsen also pointed out that Bush’s executive order doesn’t refer to the day off as a holiday. 

Other officials in the governor’s office also pointed out that giving state workers a paid day off during this financial crisis wouldn’t look good for the state since it would effectively cost the state well over $1 million.

The issue was raised after state workers saw the presidential declaration and wondered whether it applied to them as well.

A spokesman with the governor’s office said they expect that any workers who still have vacation days on the books will probably take the day off, leaving a skeleton staff in many agencies.

But Nielsen said the governor’s office and the rest of the state will be open for business Dec. 26.

– Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.