County 1.5% raise a slap in the face PDF E-mail

Dear Editor:

I have been reading the paper the past several weeks and, needless to say, I am embarrassed at what is going on in the county commissioners’ meetings. Folks who I know from out of the county tease me in good nature about what is being printed about the meetings. We have become the laughing stock of the area. It sure appears that there is a personal vendetta against some people.

I didn’t feel the need to write the paper until I saw the part about our county employees getting a 1.5 percent raise. If you want to take morale to a new low, that is the way to do it. I remember when I was sheriff, this was done. How can I go back to my men and women and tell them that they are worth only that small bit and then try to motivate them to go to their respective jobs and give it all they’ve got. Several of them told me to take that 1.5 percent and "stick it" as it was just a slap in the face.

I didn’t say it, but they were right. I tried to explain to the commissioners at that time that it costs more to keep training new people than it does to pay the ones I had a decent wage. To help you understand, I had to pay two people doing the job of one while in training. This isn’t a job that you can learn in a short time. It takes a lot of hours to train for these kind of jobs.

The dispatchers have the hardest job that I know of. At that time, they had to dispatch, take 911 calls, get all the necessary people to the emergency, put up with additional calls and emergency calls all by themselves. In the meantime, they had to take calls from the scene, usually from a very excited deputy who wanted wreckers, more emergency services as needed and wanted them 10 minutes ago. And, along with that, had to do their prisoner checks each hour.

My point is that you get what you pay for! It is a very, very high-stress job.

When you see a deputy’s car driving down the road some of you think, wow, that is a cushy job. He is doing one of many things. He may be trying to collect personal property taxes from some deadbeat who doesn’t pay them. Those folks don’t answer their door and say, "I am so sorry, I just forgot." Most of them hide from you and don’t answer their door. It takes a lot of extra time trying to outfox them and then you listen to them make excuses and they want more time to pay, etc.

He may also be trying to serve a warrant for failure to appear in court, or he may be trying to serve a notice from court that he is being sued. Sometimes it is an arrest warrant for them to appear in court for several things, including not paying child support. These people don’t want to be found!

Oh, and one of the really nice ones involve a court order for them to sell your property, because the bank is foreclosing on them. This is not a bash at banks, they have a right to do this. A lot of the folks who I had to foreclose were people I had known for a long time. The interest rates were 18 percent and there was no way for them to pay that and keep in business. Some of the property that I had foreclosed on had been in the family for years. Some people actually thought I had a choice whether to sell their property and made threats to my family.

All of this for people who thought that 1.5 percent raise was doing us a big favor. It just stinks.

Paul Harding


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