By Elizabeth Matthews
COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (KSDK) - On this federally recognized holiday, most government offices like city halls are closed. After many years of being open, Collinsville's City Hall did close, at least for the public Monday.
The doors were just closed to residents, not to employees. If employees wanted to be off they had to take a vacation day.
The parking lot was packed and the lights still on inside, but the sign on the front doors read "City Hall closed January 21st to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day."
For many years the city hall in Collinsville has been open to employees and the public on this federally recognized holiday. This year Mayor John Miller said they were trying to come up with a way to make the national holiday a city holiday, but unfortunately, he says, with 150 employees that's very difficult.
Some residents say asking people to work Martin Luther King Jr. Day is disrespectful.
"As long as I remember, city hall has always been open. So they may say that this is a step to try to show respect for Dr. King's holiday. But it's window dressing. You might as well have stayed open and stayed working on a better solution," says concerned resident Brandon Drake.
"We thought we would take a small step this year and close city hall as the post office and so forth. But our employees could come to work and tidy up their offices and do things that wouldn't normally be able to do during the days, when customers are walking in and walking out," says Mayor John Miller.
The mayor says they want to honor Dr. King's legacy, and that's why they decided to close to the public on the holiday.
As for the future he said he wants to talk to the labor unions and see if they can get something worked out.