No Appreciation for “Public Servants”

149985~Cut fire and police retirement benefits back to 75% after
30 years—Dear Editor,
Paying police and fireman 90 percent of their salary on
retirement after 30 years is ridiculous. This percentage should be
cut back to no more than 75 percent.
With all due respect to a former neighbor…I’d like to remind Mr. Don Pierce that private sector employees don’t have to run into burning buildings to risk their lives, or chase felons, or dodge cars and bullets. No, most private sector employees don’t even wear a bullet proof vest to work. Most private sector employees don’t get back and knee injuries because they constantly have to get in and out of cars, or on and off of large trucks, or climb (and fall) from ladders into, or onto, burning buildings. Many private sector employees sit in an office with an air conditioner running in the hot summer, or a heater running in the cold of winter. Most private sector employees don’t get cussed out on a daily basis as a routine part of their job or get in physical confrontations with “customers” that don’t like the “service.” Most private sector employees are exposed to little or no risk during the course of their employment and receive a substantially larger paycheck than most public employees (which could be invested for as much retirement as they desire).

As a public servant, I would like to ask you…if your home is burning down, or being burglarized…will you appreciate the men and women that will come risk their lives for you and your property? Do you appreciate the fact that many police officers and firefighters never make it to retirement because they are injured to the point that they cannot work again in their trained profession…just for you and your neighbors.

The tradeoff in being a “public servant” is the understanding that we’ll work for less pay in return for the security of a good retirement. As a “public servant,” if I’m fortunate to make it to a 90% retirement at age 56 after working for 30 years, I think the garbage I’ve taken from the public I serve is worth the 90%. I do my job wholeheartedly and enthusiastically. I would hope that you would understand that I’m satisfied with my job and my paycheck. My pay is not extravagant, but it meets my needs and provides for my family. But after the sacrifices I’ve made and will make during the course of my career as a “public servant,” I hope no one will think I’m overcompensated.

Most “public servants” who work in the field I do, cannot afford to buy a home in the Bay Area, or any of the other metropolitan areas where they work. The first home I bought in Gilroy was a low-income “below market rate” home. I don’t think I could even afford one of those now at top step pay in my job. Yet I watch those around me in the “private sector” buying $750,000 homes in Eagle Ridge like hotcakes with their “private sector” stock options.

Ninety percent of my paycheck will probably always be much less than the seventy-five percent of yours Mr. Pierce.

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