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Ask the Expert

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Letter: Public service deserves the best

Posted: May 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

In response to Brian Baker’s May 15 column “Horton’s lefty talking points miss problem”:

I neither know nor particularly care what business Mr. Baker owns or works for in the “private sector.”

In the private sector, if I’m unhappy with a business, I could go elsewhere.

When it comes to public service, however, if I have to call 911, I’m not in a position to shop around. I want the best fire, paramedics and law enforcement professionals I can get. I want them available 24/7, weekends and holidays, thoroughly trained and competent.

I’m willing to pay the best (including “golden” retirements) because that’s what it takes to recruit the best and retain the best employees.

Not only do these people protect lives and property at their own peril, they also protect taxpayers from unnecessary civil liability. All these people, including corrections officers (they aren’t just “guards”), make decisions daily that could result in millions of dollars in lost funds as a result of lawsuits.

While Baker might not have such benefits as an “early retirement” in his chosen occupation, he certainly had the freedom to decide what career to enter — as we all do. It was his choice to seek wealth in a comparatively safe enterprise that doesn’t require such sacrifices or involve danger to qualify for those premium retirements.

While he might not appreciate what our tax dollars pay for, I certainly do. I don’t want to wait until my home catches fire, I’m victimized by a criminal or in need of a paramedic to know what kind of service I’m going to receive.

Saying we “appreciate” these fine people’s service isn’t enough. We’re obligated to pay for it.

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