The employees of Guilford County are on the verge of being able to add another vacation day – this one in June – to the list of holidays they currently get off.

At a Thursday, April 7 commissioners work session with county staff, Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston told staff that he wanted them to start the process of establishing Juneteenth – June 19 – as a new annual holiday for county employees, beginning this year.

Juneteenth, sometimes known as “Black Independence Day,” is a holiday in honor of the freeing of enslaved African-Americans.

Juneteenth was signed into law as a federal holiday in June of last year, however, the June 19 holiday has been celebrated in select parts of the country since the end of the Civil War.  June 19 each year is the anniversary of the official announcement in 1865 that slaves in Texas were free.

At the April 7 afternoon meeting in the Blue Room in the Old Guilford County Court House, Alston gave instructions to Guilford County Manager Mike Halford to bring back information to the board that will help the commissioners make the decision.

“How much will it cost?” Alston asked.

He added that he also wanted to know how much of a burden it would be on Guilford County government to lose the services of the roughly 2,500 employees for one additional day each year in mid-summer.

Alston said after the meeting that he hopes the county will be able to implement the holiday fast enough for county employees to get the day off this year.

When Alston, the chairman of the Democratic-majority Board of Commissioners, hopes something will happen in Guilford County government, it usually does.

The City of Greensboro already recognizes Juneteenth as an official holiday which will be on Monday, June 20 this year since June 19 falls on a Sunday.