March 28, 2011
To the editor,
Lately, the media has been filled with accounts of government employees becoming the brunt of attacks for earning a salary and pension from taxpayers.
Law enforcement, firefighters, and teachers are the majority of government’s infrastructure responsibility. Often, these public sector jobs pay a fraction of their private sector counterparts. It is not the employee’s fault that they earn a salary or are compensated for the lower pay with an attractive pension. The out-of-control spending is very real, but it’s the fault of the heads of government, not those who are workers.
Look at last week’s recall of Miami-Dade's Mayor Carlos Alvarez. Amongst other things, Alvarez was recalled from government service for excessive spending. Maybe we should look at excessive spending here.
Take some local examples. The Lee County Sheriff gives his top staff nonsensical raises year after year without so much as a penny to the rank and file responsible for crime prevention. This example is one of many that illustrate continued misuse of our money by the Sheriff.
The Lehigh Acres Fire Department cannot find enough funding to staff advanced life support ambulances and fire engines to provide for the citizens, yet the Board of Lee County Commissioners, instead of focusing on infrastructure needs such as Lehigh, elects to spend taxpayer money to build stadiums, acquire beachfront properties, and conduct beautification project without the benefit of a referendum.
With all of us struggling day to day, I question why we have a frivolous spending Sheriff and a BOCC that appears to spend money on questionable purchases when we have the ability to regulate and recall as Miami-Dade did with Alvarez. When will our elected officials truly begin to lead? When is enough really enough?