News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The nation honors Veterans Day and so does the state of Georgia. Here in Augusta, it's business as usual on Veterans Day. Commissioner Bill Lockett says he wants to change that.
City leaders will decide whether to make Veterans Day a paid holiday for city employees and elected officials.
"We need to take care of those who have taken care of this country," said Commissioner Alvin Mason.
So should all city employees, even garbage men, deputies and secretaries have a paid day's vacation?
"Most certainly, they should be off," Lockett said.
"A secretary may have served this nation. If so, she should be given the day off," Mason said.
Lockett and Mason are veterans. They say observing Nov. 11 is a way to give back and Jessica Tutt agrees.
"Veterans Day is when the country looks down on us and thanks us for serving. Only 1 percent of us can go out and do it," Tutt said.
She is a mother of two who has been deployed five times and has been enlisted in the Army for a decade.
"I missed countless birthdays and things of that sort. It feels good to be in a community that knows the risk take," Tutt said.
City workers already get 10 paid days off. Adding Veterans Day could end up costing taxpayers more.
"You've got the loss of work and that's the main thing. There would be some additional costs," said City Administrator Fred Russell.
Some soldiers end up paying the ultimate cost overseas in battle. They're fighting for our freedom and that's why some commissioners are pushing for it.
"I remember times when I was in harm's way, lonely and wanted to be home. I think it's time for Augusta-Richmond County to give back," Lockett said.
Is it giving back or breaking the taxpayers' backs?