Letters to the Editor

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UNIONS: High labor costs are hurting service

Letter by Christopher H. Hannon, University Place on Dec. 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm with No Comments »
December 17, 2012 3:51 pm

Re: “Public unions have a choice: Save pay – or jobs” (editorial, 12-17).

The editorial on unsustainable wages and benefits for public safety employees is even more relevant when you examine recent articles.

First, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department is getting a new plane and boat, courtesy of a federal grant.
Second, Monday was the start of South Sound 911.

In both cases, high labor costs have prevented fire and police departments from buying equipment with existing funds as should have been done. If anyone disputes the high labor cost, read about the new University Place police chief, who is paid $164,000 per year to manage 14 deputies – more than the CEO of Pierce Transit ($160,000 to manage 842 employees).

It’s ironic that we approved a sales tax increase for South Sound 911, an effort that will improve efficiency and reduce cost, but would not approve one for transit.

Finally, given the fiscal cliff talks in the other Washington and the budget cuts that will likely occur, I can’t wait to hear the groans when public safety departments in this Washington have to face life without federal grants.

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