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Pasco's civil servants deserve better

County workers deserve better

Isn't it nice that the Sheriff's Office, the county Property Appraiser's Office and the Clerk of the Court can submit a budget less than last year. It makes one think that we are experiencing a time of real savings. However, the savings are for the most part a result of the 3 percent contribution to the state of Florida pension fund by the employees of Pasco County. It is simple; they put in more, the agency puts in less. Ergo, we have savings.

I am not saying that a contribution to the pension fund is or is not called for. Few states have a non-contributory pension plan these days. However, I recall that the state of New York, which was my employer, did not change the plan for established employees. Instead, new employees hired after a specific date went into another tier and were made to contribute to their pensions. It was fair because the older employees accepted employment under one set of rules and the new employees under another set of rules. It might be argued that the times we live in require drastic measures. However, let us not forget that the civil servants took a 3 percent cut in pay.

When times are good and employment plentiful, many people do not choose civil service. It is not sexy, not exciting, does not pay enough, promotion is limited. However, when jobs are scarce, the same people who would not work for civil service look around and complain the civil servants have it too good.

Then there is the myth that civil servants sit around all day, do no work and collect paychecks as some sort of welfare system. I worked very hard for the state of New York and was promoted several times for my efforts. My salary was less than that in private industry for the same work, but I was satisfied to remain where I was for my own reasons and, to tell the truth, the promise of a pension when I retired. I had worked many years in private industry and when I was done, there was no pension or other retirement benefits. My wife worked all her life in private industry and never earned a pension. When you are retired, the pension, which is not exactly a fortune, looks very good.

How do people think that the business of government gets done? Is it by smoke and mirrors? Does the work just get done by itself whether it is in motor vehicle, the tax collector, the court clerk or Sheriff's Office? People go to work every day and work hard to make our system of government run properly.

Ignorance is the biggest reason for people's prejudice against civil service. In many foreign countries it is the top of the career ladder rather than being held in such disrespect as it is here.

Let us rejoice in the budget savings and the possibility that we can go through the budget process without bloodshed as in past years. However, let's not forget how we are getting there.

Lewis Corvene, Hudson

Double standard | June 5 editorial

Out-of-state hire comes at bad time

You have hit the nail on the head. The June 4 article about Superintendent Heather Fiorentino hiring a new principal adds to your case. Normally I do not like to second-guess management but in this case I feel compelled.

No offense to the new principal, Ms. Coe, I'm sure she is a highly qualified candidate and that she has been in the principal pool for several years. Really, why do we allow non-Florida residents to be in the Pasco County schools' principals pool? Isn't being a Florida resident a requirement? Why not?

I find it hard to believe that there are no current qualified assistant principals available in the pool. I'm sure we do have several assistant principals on the reduction-in-force list. During this time of severe statewide layoffs, why do we need to hire someone from outside the state with our record unemployment?

I feel the School Board should just ay "no" to Fiorentino's suggested new hire.

Bob Dicaire, Land O'Lakes

Firing school bus driver too harsh

When I was in school, we learned about the Age of Enlightenment and of the Age of Reason. Mankind was reaching a higher level of intelligence.

Then last week I read about Dolores Conley, a Pasco County school bus driver, who sent a text on her cell phone while in her parked and empty school bus. She will probably be fired for operating her bus in a manor that, our superintendent of schools describes as, "unsafe to the people riding your school bus."

Is this reasonable? Is this reasoning the result of our enlightenment? This more resembles the Inquisition: Irrational interpretation of rules combined with draconian enforcement. We won't burn Dolores at the stake, but we will take away the income she makes to feed and house herself and her children for this supposed lack of judgment.

Jim Smetzer, New Port Richey

Fasano defending party's principles

As lifelong Republicans, we want to say balderdash to some of the comments of local Republicans in the article on Sen. Mike Fasano and his so-called opposition to the state Republican Party leaders.

Since the start of our republic, our elected representatives have debated, dissented and disagreed. To propose homogeneity from our representatives is akin to asking for behavior resembling ants in the ant farm or locksteppers.

Our Republican Party has always been proud of a history of those who stood for personal freedoms, limited government and lower taxes, and Sen. Fasano always has held true to that tradition. From Lincoln, to Coolidge, to Reagan, members of the Republican Party have sought to see that individual rights were heard over the loud demands of special interest groups. We applaud Mike Fasano for being a defender of those high principles, especially since the senator has done so in respect to those that call Pasco County home.

Steve and Sandy Graves

Land O' Lakes

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Pasco's civil servants deserve better 06/07/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 8:40pm]
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