Council member portrays county workers unfairly

In the Feb. 23 “Chair’s 3 Minutes” column, Council Member Mike White implies the taxpayers are being unfairly burdened by county workers whose wages – he suggests – have increased 24.7 percent over the last five years while “wages in the rest of the community dropped by 5.5 percent.”

As a county worker, I find this to be very misleading. How soon he forgets the 2009-11 furloughs that resulted in a 5 percent pay decrease for county workers, and the fact that we received no wage increase from 2011 to 2013. The modest 4 percent increase we negotiated in our new contract is our first pay increase since 2008.

I also take exception to Mr. White’s attempt at portraying government workers as undeserving takers who are fleecing the taxpayers. Yes, there are a few bad apples in every organization. But, in general, county employees are hardworking and serve our community with pride.

To portray us as greedy only helps to spread unnecessary division and resentment within our community. We are not takers. We are your friends, your relatives, your neighbors. We have negotiated in good faith to get a modest wage increase, but we also made sacrifices when it was necessary to help balance the county budget.

Mr. White should also be reminded that the dollars we earn are reinvested in our community every time we support our local businesses. If he is so concerned about the cost of government, he should give back the 15 percent wage increase he received.

Juan A. Rivera