Firefighters discuss holiday pay for Easter vs. Veterans Day - FOX29 Lake Charles

Firefighters discuss holiday pay for Easter vs. Veterans Day

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City of Lake Charles (Source: KPLC) City of Lake Charles (Source: KPLC)

Some Lake Charles firefighters oppose having Easter removed as a paid holiday.

Two firefighters went before the Lake Charles Civil Service Board on Friday, which was scheduled to hold a public hearing on the question. But it turns out, the Lake Charles City Council already decided the issue - at least for now.

While many people are at Easter services and children hunt their eggs, others are at work, including firefighters and officers at Lake Charles police and fire departments. Several firefighters attended the civil service board meeting to object to the Easter holiday being swapped with Veterans Day.

Capt. Casey Leblanc feels those who work on Easter deserve more than regular pay.

"Me, personally; I have two little children - 4 and 5 - so the Easter Bunny still comes.It's one of them things. And we will not be there. I won't be able to take my children to church on Sunday. And to not be compensated for that, is to me, appalling. There is a state law saying they have to pay us 10 but there is no state law saying they can't pay us 11. So, if you want to compensate the veterans, by all means, compensate them.  But do not take the Lord's Day in return," he said.

Those who are already off on Easter do not get paid. Police prefer Veterans Day because more employees are affected. 

"Easter Sunday benefits those employees who are working on Easter Sunday, and only those employees. Whereas, Veterans Day would benefit all of the employees when it falls on a Monday through Friday," said Cpl. Dustin Gaudet, with the Lake Charles Police Department. He also serves on the board.

As it turns out, the state office notified local board members that it's really up to the Lake Charles City Council which already decided to swap Easter for Veterans Day.

"The firefighters that are working on Easter Sunday, now they won't be compensated overtime for this. However, we do have day personnel that work for the fire department and being that they are off already on Easter Sunday, by implementing Veterans Day, they will now get an additional holiday each year," said Lake Charles Fire Department District Chief Chris Carroll. 

While some firefighters would rather see Easter as the paid holiday, some think both days should be holidays.

"Some of our members feel that Easter should be a holiday and they should be compensated for it, but they also feel that Veterans Day is a holiday also, so they like to be compensated for both and not to lose one to gain another.," said Carroll. 

They say they'll wait until there's a new city administration in place before deciding whether to ask for a change. Before the change, firefighters on duty on Easter received time-and- a-half pay for working.

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