Wednesday, November 24, 2010
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Letter to the Editor: State Employee Raises Concerns

To Our Elected Representatives

The following are some concerns I have for myself and fellow state employees. While you look over these concerns, I would appreciate it if you remember we are the ones who take calls at all hours of the day and night. We are expected to respond to these emergencies promptly and we do. This we do not only for the safety of the public and our families, but for your families also. Most of the time these calls require us to leave our families in bad weather when we need to be at home, but we go anyway. Also remember we basically left our families for five months during the ice storm. We put our lives and situations on hold to do the job we had to do.

We had no power and property damage just like everyone else, but we waited until the mission here was completed, months later.

Every day we put our lives on the line working on the highways, yet no one seems to think we deserve hazardous duty pay. If you stood on one of our roads working with traffic passing you at 50-75 mph you probably would change your mind. At the same time I understand the budget problems. But it is hard to take when you here $500,000 being given for sidewalks or 1.5 million for some other project and told at the same time there is no money to give for daily living expenses. A response like that comes from a different budget is wrong. If we don’t have money for living expenses why do we put money in budgets for sidewalks? State employees feel very unappreciated and wronged by our representatives. Moral is at an all time low. With the economy like it is and the cost increases in gas and other items, why are we spending money wastefully and not making sure our employees are treated fairly? Please look over the following concerns and keep all this in mind. Your attention to these matters would be greatly appreciated.

I oppose the furlough of state employees because the size of the state government workforce is the smallest it’s been in 20 years, requiring more efficiency on the part of employees to do more work with less people.   Furloughs will have an immediate impact on my family. My monthly bills—mortgage, utilities, medical expenses, car payments, day care, and basic necessities such as food— must still be paid.

State employees need a cost of living adjustment that matches the inflation rate because salary increments have been lower than the cost of living for the last nine years, causing state employees to effectively lose ground each year to inflation.  Right now in the proposed budget, there is no salary increment for state employees for the next two years.

The continuing increase in the cost of health insurance benefits has further eroded my income as a state employee.   We need employees’ payments to stay steady or at least not increase faster than inflation.

I cannot afford a decrease in the health insurance benefits and options. Changes to public employees’ health insurance benefits have not been fully disclosed and there’s been little or no public debate or discussion of changes that will affect the health insurance benefits and options of me and my family.  

Decreased options for health insurance and increases in premium and co-insurance that will only erode my ability to keep up with the cost of living.

Information provided to iSurf by Heather Trapp.


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