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Voices Question

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Public Employees: Do you think it is important for public employees to contact their elected officials about funding for public services? Why or why not?

Comments: 96

Yes, because they only react when they see letters, phone calls, or dollars via campaign contributions.

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Chris McCaslin
PEF
Babylon, NY

Certainly, we should use our right to contact elected officials. We should tell them to be prudent with how taxpayer money is spent. Certainly, as a taxpayer, I am concerned about the waste of money in government. Hard choices need to be made. Total transparency is necessary to know where money is going, and if it is being spent with good result. Unfunded governmental mandates need to be addressed.

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Ron Tunison
PEF New York State
Horseheads, NY

I think that public employees MUST contact their reps to let them know how we want OUR money spent. They pay our wages with our money.

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Barbara Coate
JESS
Auke Bay, AK

I do feel it is important for public employees to contact their elected officials about funding public services. Reason: Who better understands the impact such funding has on the lives of the citizens of a state than its employees.

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Robert P. Bowles
PEF, Local 4053
New York, NY

It is critically important! We are the ones doing the jobs directly in the community. We know best about the impact of our services and the effects of any cuts or expansions. Our voice is essential to the decision making process. If we don't talk to elected officials about the importance of what we do, who will?

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Corinne McVee
ACE 4425
Anchorage, AK

Yes, it's very important. Elected officials have to know that we vote, too; and we have to counteract the lobbying efforts of others with more resticted views.

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Michael Follman
PEF, retired
Huntington Station, NY

Yes. If we did not contact them they would assume everything is good and carry on with what they think is best for them and not necessarily best for the public employee.

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Jim Nitchman
AHMC local 6082
Anchorage, AK

It's important for them to know what we, the public employees and taxpayers, think and want our government officials to do.

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Sue Biddlecombe
Tonawanda, NY

It is important that public employees contact elected officials about funding for public services now, more than ever. Unions for both private and public employees have fought hard for fair working conditions and wages. America is now in a great transition period, which involves competing with a global economy, where many do not have fair wages, health benefits, a reasonably secure retirement and/or substandard working conditions. Privatization is adding a middle layer that costs more money, gives less to the working class and facilitates lesser meaningful jobs, which invites corruption and a system where people are underpaid and a few get rich.

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david post
williamsville, NY

Yes. Elected officials are there because of the voters. They will listen when significant numbers of constituents contact them about important issues.

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Rob Bower
PSA@RIC Local 3302
Hope, RI

It is perfectly appropriate for public employees to contact their elected officials about funding for public services with the following understandings. First, as public employees we should be contacting our elected officals as taxpayers. This allows us to avoid our requests from being misconstrued as an attempt to ensure job security. Second, and most important, our goal should not be to protect our jobs, but to in fact serve as advocates for those whom we serve and benefit from public services.

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Bill delGaudio
Rhode Island College
Providence, RI

I think it is detrimental for individual public employees to contact their elected officials about funding public services. Public officials who are sympathetic to labor will have already been contacted by union leadership. There is no need to flood their mail with similar material. Public officials who are not sympathetic will use these contacts to harass or fire the employee(s). Politics is even more vicious than ever. The union strength is if we hang together. Demonstrations and strikes are the only useful tools left.

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Beatrice Hulsberg
FOSCEP
Harrisburg, PA

I think we need to keep elected officials advised of the conditions that they may not fully understand regarding public service related positions/jobs. Sometimes those who are the beneficiaries, or need to be beneficiaries, of public services are the most vulnerable. Those services give way first in a bad economy and leave some "destitute." One of my elected officials once told me how hard it was to keep track of everything and how he needed input from regular citizens.

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Doris Robbins
APEA-Aft: RPEA-retired
Fairbanks, AK

Yes, I think it is important to tell our public officials what is on our mind about policy and issues, including funding for public services.

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nancy Hoogasian
providence, RI

IT IS PARAMOUNT. Without funding for public services by our elected officials, contract negotiations would be fruitless. There would be no raises, no COLA adjustments, no maintainablity or increases to benefits, no job security when jobs are cut through lack of funding. There would be a decline in represented membership, less dues, less union operating capital, less union strength in power by the numbers to fight and protect the values, wages, benefits, and respectable working conditions that public employees have long fought for, earned and deserve!!!

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Gavin D. Charrier
Local 6137 APEA/AFT
Ketchikan, AK

I do, as I think public employees in general have their hand on the pulse of the community. They are often participants in public hearings and forums if not as employees then as volunteers in their individual communities; and they have a good idea what services the public wants to see and needs. Public employees are on the front line and hear the questions and concerns voiced first hand usually. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to comment.

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Tamela Cegelske
APEA
Ketchikan, AK

Although some may look at it as self serving, I firmly believe that public employees should contact their elected officials about funding for public services. Who better than the front line staff to tell about how limited funding for services is affecting their clients? I work at the Ct. Dept. of Social Services. Although I personally don't work with clients, I have been told that caseloads of some of our workers are in excess of 2,000 cases. Certainly a worker with more than 2,000 cases can describe better than anyone the hardships being faced by the clients in those cases, as well as the lack of ability to fully serve and help those people.

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Mark Moyle
Administrative and Residual Employees Union
West Hartford, CT

If public employees don't provide justification for the continuation of funding public services, we are hurting ourselves. It's not "featherbedding." It makes sense to promote public access to all the vital services a city, state and county has available & to keep them operating!

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Peter Lamprakos
Perth Amboy Federation
Edison, NJ

Yes, I do think it is important for public employees to contact their elected officials about funding for public services. Our government is a representative democracy. If our representatives do not know that we care how our government is run, and that we will hold them responsible, ...well, then we get what we have today, the best darn government that Wall Street and the Corporations can buy.

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Robert Lyle
Seattle, WA

Public employees, more than anyone, know the benefits and problems related to those public services in which they work. They as citizens are also the benefactors of those services when they operate as expected. To support the common good, they should contact public officials when they are aware of services which support the common good and or need support in their communities.

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Evelyn Foreman
Detroit Federation of Teachers
Detroit, MI

Public employees are on the front lines providing state services and are the eyes and ears of their elected officials. Elected officials should hear from all of their constituents.

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Robert Greenwood
Kansas Organization of State Employees
Coffeyville, KS

It is of the utmost importance. Elected officials decide our salaries, benefits and fate. Many state employess qualify for food stamps and other financial help. From their ivory towers they have trouble walking in our shoes. We need to enlighten them on how it is in our world.

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Kathleen Arbogast
Kansas Organization of State Employees
Topeka, KS

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