After she had loaded up her car and headed to the Montauk waste transfer station, a woman of our acquaintance was surprised Tuesday morning to discover that it was closed. She was not alone.
New York is among some eight states that have declared the date a holiday for its employees; many other municipalities followed suit. Any number of people have been flummoxed by the Election Day shutdown of nearly all East Hampton and Southampton Town services, Town Hall, and most public schools, ostensibly to give staff an opportunity to get to their polling places.
This is nonsense, of course. Polls in New York State open at 6 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. — surely anyone who needed to vote early or late would have an opportunity to do so. This is especially true for many town workers, whose days start around 8 or 9 and begin to taper off around 3 in the afternoon. No, something more must be at play here.
Not to sound old-fashioned, but there seems to be a tinge of laziness about officialdom taking the day off. At least by South Fork standards, many public employees — and nearly all elected ones — are rather well paid for what they do, and, from our perspective, should be on the job more rather than less. It is a puzzlement that on the one day when communities are supposed to focus on their governance, government chooses to stay home.