State workers deserve a pay raiseThe headline in the Nov...

LETTERS

November 28, 1996

State workers deserve a pay raise

The headline in the Nov. 20 Sun shouted, ''Governor calls for 10 percent tax cut.'' The article praised Gov. Parris Glendening for trying to boost the sluggish economy and spreading goodwill among voters.

While the governor seems to be ultra-concerned about the voters, the reality is that the savings, according to the article, would amount to $167 for an average family of four earning $50,000 a year. I am a person in an average family of four who also happens to be a state employee, and I would love to earn $50,000 a year.

My tax savings will obviously be much less.

Nowhere in the article did the governor mention a pay raise for state employees other than state police. I can only assume that he does not consider the average state employee worth compensating, and I can also only assume that our votes don't count.

Before you start thinking about how lazy state employees are, or how many there are, and that we should reduce the state payroll, let me offer the following facts.

State employees have had one -- yes, one -- pay raise in the last five years and that was 2 percent. Our hours were increased 12 percent from 35.5 to 40 per week with no additional compensation. How many unions would allow that without going on strike?

State Police are state employees, and should not be compensated without the same consideration being given to all state employees. These are the same State Police who call me asking for donations.

Finally, I will let the public in on a little-known secret. Once every four years, during leap years, state employees get a pay cut. State salaries are yearly amounts. Because there is an extra working day during leap year, our salaries are recomputed using the extra day; therefore, our bi-weekly amounts are less. How would you like to work an extra day and not only not get paid for it, but also make less for every other day you work?

I am getting a little tired of taking the heat for Annapolis' mismanagement of funds as well as bad management. You cannot balance the budget on the backs of state employees forever.

Jerry Nelson

Havre de Grace

College can be affordable

I applaud the spirit of Gov. Parris Glendening's proposal to bring a college education within the reach of middle-class college aspirants with a "B" or better grade average. However, I agree with columnist Michael Olesker (Nov. 24, ''Teachers can expect heat from scholarship plan'') that perhaps the governor is not exercising responsible stewardship in offering both scholarships and a 10 percent tax cut at a time when there are so many demands for state money.

The governor and parents of college-bound students need to remember that community colleges provide quality, competitive educations for freshman- and sophomore-level college work. Like our four-year counterparts, community colleges offer the full array of general education courses, as well as honors programs and internships, at a fraction of the cost.

In addition to fine academic programs, community-college faculty and staff have a demonstrated record of being accessible to students for consultation and tutoring, mentoring, advisement for course selection and transfer and assistance for financial aid. Community colleges also offer special programs for first-generation college students.

Alumni, students, faculty and staff are well aware of the service that community colleges have provided for nearly 40 years. So far, we have been able to provide excellence at a low cost without sacrificing quality.

Our governor, elected representatives and boards of trustees would do well to support and promote community college as an effective means of keeping post-secondary education within the reach of college-bound students.

Margaret McCampbell

Baltimore

The writer teaches English at Catonsville Community College.

Family violence report outlines action plan

In Elaine Tassy's article (Nov. 23) on the Family Violence Council report, one statistic was understandably confused with another.

The article stated that ''24,000 Marylanders were victims of domestic abuse in 1994 and 1995.'' In fact, the report states that there were 24,021 police reports written for spousal assaults in 1995. This is only the tip of the iceberg.

According to the FBI, domestic violence ''is underreported by a factor greater than 10 to 1.'' Maryland's domestic violence hotlines alone receive more than 77,000 calls per year. Due to the often hidden nature of the problem there are no precise statistics, but Maryland domestic violence victim advocates estimate that approximately 150,000 women are battered annually in Maryland.

Because family violence is so prevalent in Maryland, and the consequences are so horrific, especially for children, a critical portion of the council's report, not covered in the article, is its action plan.

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