Letters to the Editor

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PIERCE COUNTY: Workers’ salaries not excessive

Letter by Charles Woodhead Jr, Spanaway on May 7, 2010 at 12:58 pm with 24 Comments »
May 7, 2010 1:23 pm

Re: “Cut salaries, pensions” (letter. 5-5).

The News Tribune mislead readers on compensation for county workers (TNT, 4-25). Since public safety comprises more than 70 percent of the Pierce County budget, I will address that portion of it.

Some sheriff’s deputies and corrections officers do earn the amount cited through working many hours of overtime caused by personnel shortages. Most fall far short of six figures as cited in the article.

It takes special people to risk their lives to protect citizens of this county. Corrections officers are subject to being spit on, having urine and feces thrown at them, and being assaulted by the dirtbags we have to deal with every day.

One officer in the new jail has to watch and control 84 of these miscreants in an open dorm where the officer is right in the dorm area. Our deputies risk their lives every day to take these criminals off the street.

Would the letter writer tell the families of our officers and of the four Lakewood officers that their loved ones were overcompensated? Why doesn’t she apply for one of our jobs and live the experience before shooting from the hip and criticizing what we make?

Oh, sorry, she can’t; the department isn’t hiring because of the budget.

If you want to criticize money wasted, go after the Cadillac health care inmates get at county expense. Let’s cut that, and we can save untold millions.

Leave a comment Comments → 24
  1. everythingalaska says:

    Corrections Deputy Woodhead, don’t forget about the massive amount of expensive medications being wasted. As for the overtime being made by Corrections Deputies, we are mandated by a lawsuit to fill those vacant posts 24/7. Someone has to work them and they have to be paid for it.

  2. LibertyBell says:

    And never forget this one either?
    Pierce County Corrections Officer Duane M. Jones Arrested, in Domestic Violence Case?
    Tacoma Police Chief Murders wife?
    Pierce County Sheriff Janovich, heads to federal prison?

    We just can’t seem to pay em enouygh!

  3. Theoldsergeant says:

    I don’t know about the massive amount of expensive medications being wasted. Some of the expense is covered by the prisoners own medical plan (if they have one). Also, some of the expense comes from other agencies outside of the jail. Also, there used to be a small fee prisoners were charged to see the Medico’s. Now, if you we’re able to look way back into the Pierce County Jail History you would discover that prisoner medical care was lacking and that was an understatement! During that time, Jail Sergeants (and Physician Assistants If one was on duty) we’re forced by circumstances to make many medical and mental decisions. With help of some of the officers who had some medical training we and the prisoners managed to survive. The Hospital Emergency Rooms saved the bacon more than once.

    There is or was a pharmacy in the jail where those expensive medications came from. The Officers had a medical cart and cards to document dispensing the medication and they gave those expensive medications directly to the prisoners themselves. Otherwords, the jail medical care was understaffed, under funded, but had some of the most dedicated staff you could find and that included many officers. Then came along the lawsuit that brought sanity and humane medical care to the jail operation. By any one’s standard the Pierce County Jail was a pit for the prisoners and the officers who worked there. You talk about dangerous, you have no idea. Anyway, talk to some of the officers who have been there a very long time before you complain too much. But, I do understand your impatience with people who have no idea what they are talking about. Add stress and the major medical issues that officers face.

  4. fatuous says:

    I don’t have a problem with the wages. It’s the benefit cost that I want to see cut.

    Government employees need to pay for half of their health care premium.

    Also I want to replace the current pension plan with a straight 3% contribution of the employee’s base wages into a 457 plan.

    Btw, the current wages for a correction officer are pretty generous considering you just need a high school education.

    I’m willing to allow the current wages and increase them each year by the rate of inflation, if the benefits are cut to my suggested levels.

  5. The equation is: risk/reward

    Jailering is one of those jobs where you don’t get paid necessarily for what you do, but for what you may have to do and all the risk it encompasses. It’s not a cashiering job.

  6. Theoldsergeant says:

    Hi There Fatuous, you are just full of great ideas. Good for you. Unfortunately your suggestions are, how do you say it, a show of a lack of knowledge. But, I have a great idea, why don’t you apply to become a Pierce County Corrections Officer and maybe you too can qualify. To see if you can qualify, please answer these questions truthfully to yourself. Have you used hard drugs or smoked alot of “weed”? Have you stolen anything? Do you have mental issues? Are you or have you paid your bills on time, you know, a excellent credit rating? Can you deal with assaultive and mentally affected prisoners on a daily basis and stay within the rules of use of force. Can you take orders? Can you pass a test and several interviews and talk to a “shrink”. Can you pass the Polygraph(biggie)? As for education, a good many of those officers have a education that maybe superior to yours if indeed you have one. As for medical insurance, please correct me if I’m wrong but I believe they already pay a good portion of their health care. Their retirement plan is connected with the state plans and they contribute to it. And they have eroded over the years. Oh, don’t forget a year probation to include weeks of formal training It’s truly unfortunate that only around ten percent of applicants can initially quality for the job. And some are washed out before their probation ends. I also forgot, can your work in a Para-Military Organization? So Mr. Fatuous, if you are unable to meet these basic qualifications you Sir, may not be qualified for any responsible job.

  7. tree_guy says:

    “One officer in the new jail has to watch and control 84 of these miscreants in an open dorm where the officer is right in the dorm area.” letter writer

    Right, but if the job paid less we could hire more officers with the same budget and we wouldn’t have to spread the staffing so thin.

  8. LibertyBell says:

    Wow oldsergeant?

    Your take on education, of police officers, corrections officers, and the rest of your tests, like the biggy, a polygraph, and third grade reading comprehension class, that could only confuse a Washington State Trooper?
    I must just laugh at reality, from the Pierce County Courts, and the Pierce County State Trooper, discussed in the Washington State Supreme Court, for Supreme Imbeciles, in Pierce County.

    Filed December 3, 2009

    CHAMBERS, J. ? Andrew Magee challenges his traffic infraction for
    second degree negligent driving. RCW 46.63.030 controls when a law enforcement officer may issue a notice of traffic infraction, including when the offense does not occur in the officer?s presence.1 Given the facts of this case, we hold there was no authority to issue Magee the notice of infraction. We reverse the Court of Appeals and vacate the district court judgment.

  9. LibertyBell says:

    Workers saleries not excessive? The biggest lie of all!


  10. fatuous says:

    “Right, but if the job paid less we could hire more officers with the same budget and we wouldn’t have to spread the staffing so thin. ”

    Wasn’t that point made before by the Pierce county management team.

    They pay overtime because it’s cheaper then paying the cost for the outrageous benefit package of another officer.

    Again it’s the cost of benefit package that is increasing at multiples of the inflation rate. Paying for this generous benefit package is just not sustainable!

  11. newscrap says:

    You are obsessesed with public employees benefits—there is more to this than is readily apparent. It is more than just jealousy or sour grapes. What is the REAL reason you harp on this over and over and over?

    What has happened to you in the past to make you hate law enforcement so much you waste time looking up these piddly little cases?

  12. fatuous says:

    newscrap, I harp on the benefits because the cost is increasing at multiples of the inflation rate.

    That’s just not sustainable!

    Now do you get it?

  13. newscrap says:

    no, I still don’g get it. How are the benefits different now than they were 10 or 20 years ago? They have always had a large portion of medical paid for and had a retirement plan. That is one of the reasons some were willing to go into teaching for example when I graduated from college iin the dark ages, even though pay was relatively low. As far as your statement

  14. newscrap says:

    “I am willing to allow the current wages and increase thkem each year by the rate of inflation, if the benefits are cut to my suggested levels”. Gee, how magnanamous of you. And who are you that YOUR suggested levels matter to anyone, and why do they need YOUR approval anyway?

  15. LibertyBell says:

    “piddly little cases” newscrap?

    There always piddly in the Supreme Court, for those who flunked third grade reading comprehension class.

    Just watch those Public Employee Union riots in Athen’s Greece?

    Reality, always confuses your local Public Employees Union.

    Or was Justice Johnson, also a liar, in Kitsap County Sheriff’s Guild v. Kistap County Sheriff, where hiring the handicapped is a requirement of law, as long as your a Public Employee.

  16. newscrap says:

    YUP, piddly describes your examples perfectly. “Sheriff’s Guild v. Kitsap County Sheriff, where hiring the handicapped is a requirement of law, as long as your (sic) a Public Employee.” What exactly is the point of this, and what does it have to do with ANYTHING? Do you actually spend time looking up this worthless information that is only relevant in your mind? My reading comprehension is probalby far superior to yours, so insulting my reading does not explain why your examples are always irrelevant.

  17. MarksonofDarwin says:


    Please look some of this stuff up. The WA state pension fund has gone un-funded in recent years, and we may need to use general funds to cover retirement payments.


    “As a result of delayed and suspended contributions, increased benefits, and the large investment losses of the last two fiscal years, previously healthy plans remain healthy, but are now at risk of becoming unhealthy. Previously unhealthy plans are now at risk of running out of assets before all benefits get paid,” according to a report issued last year by the actuary’s office.”

    It’s a boring subject, so I suspect that’s why it’s not covered more in the news. It’s not unique to WA state either.

    I suppose it’s not funny, but the euphemisms they use is worth a smile at least….
    When they say the plans are “at risk of running out of assets”…what they really mean, but don’t want to say is the word: BANKRUPT

  18. fatuous says:

    “And who are you that YOUR suggested levels matter to anyone, and why do they need YOUR approval anyway?”

    I understand you are angry, but that doesn’t change the numbers.

    There isn’t unlimited tax money and the Federal government borrowing is tapped out. So sooner or later, you have to pay the Piper.

    It will be interesting to see what initiatives make the ballot, and what the outcome will be.

    I find initiative 1069 pretty amusing.

  19. newscrap says:

    I am not angry, just amazed at your arrogance. You will give YOUR approval if they meet YOUR demands as to benefits. Just so we are clear, I am not a public employee,and don’t get those “generous” benfits you are so hot about.

  20. geeterpontiac says:

    You know, this is really an employers market.

    Maybe we should just have everyone reapply for their jobs at a lower rate and less benefits? But, open it to the general public and see what people are willing to work for.

    Yes, law enforcement is a dangerous, dirty, risky business for sure. But, the people that do it, do so because they want to do that type of job. It isn’t forced upon them.

    And, quite frankly, I see no more value in the life of a police officer than a ordinary citizen. What is of value is the human life factor, not a choice of a profession.

  21. JungleBoy says:

    Here’s a thought for our liberal friends. If we secured out borders, there would be fewer drugs and criminals crossing into our country. That would make it possible to cut staffing levels in prisons and jails all across America.

  22. FranklinTAjzhii says:

    I believe that this person has anger issues and may not be qualified to do his job. He just assumes that everyone in jail is a bad person. People that do a good job should get paid well, but referring to jail occupants as dirtbags and miscreants is a sure sign of a non-professional showboater who probably shouldn’t be there.

  23. LibertyBell says:

    Sorry Newscrap, I didn’t realize readin’ the TNT was such a confusing subject matter, for you local; overpaid employee.

    It’s in the new’s every day, it across the Stata and Nation, the (D)eaf, the (D)umb, and the Blind, always wan’t to raise their pay.


  24. What a bunch of whiners!

    If someone in the county, or anywhere else for that matter, pulls in a 100,000 dollar paycheck, what does that matter to ME.

    Yeah Yeah I know what your going to say..”But its paid for by OUR taxes!!”

    You whiners do the math, take those 100,000+ dollar wage earners and add em all up, and divide that by the population of Pierce County and just to shut you up I’ll give you YOUR cut out of my own lunch money! Sheesh!

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