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Tonawanda's lack of Martin Luther King holiday called an embarrassment

Town of Tonawanda employees can celebrate their own birthdays with a day off, but not Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, which has been a national holiday for more than 30 years.

Supervisor Joseph H. Emminger called that an embarrassment, but he said it is due to contracts with unions.

Town resident Patti McFarland told the Town Board on Monday that it is "disrespectful."

Emminger said town employees get 13 holidays. He said he can't give employees off on Martin Luther King Day because it would cost the town overtime for Saturday garbage collection.

Hourly Employees Union President Paul Catalano said he agrees MLK Day should be observed by the town, but he said it has not been on the table in contract negotiations for more than three years.

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