Civil servant: We'll keep working for you, even if you don't appreciate it

December 26, 2010

On Christmas Day, a letter from a reader in Reisterstown ("Somebody tell the unions: We're out of money," Dec. 25) decries the "ridiculous public benefits public service employees enjoy." Merry Christmas to you, too.

I am a civil servant. I am the Maryland State Trooper sitting in my cruiser on I-695 waiting for the snow to begin and for you to spin out into the guardrail.

I am the Maryland State Highway Administration worker who will be spending this weekend putting in 16 hour days to salt the roads and clear the snow off 695 so you won't spin out into the guardrail.

I am the fireman who will cut you out of your smashed up car and load you into the ambulance.

I am the paramedic who will get one call an hour to pick up people who are elderly and having heart problems and get them to the hospital. But right now I am looking after you.

I am the nurse in the ER pulling a double shift away from my kids, I am the resident in the operating room on my 36th hour, and I'm the surgeon who has to fix you up from that accident. I'm also the clerk who checked you in and the patient advocate who will watch over you while you are in the hospital.

I am the toll taker at the tunnel, the TSA screener, the cash line booth jockey at the airport parking lot. I am the computer network technician keeping all those monitors working.

Actually, I am a Professor at UMBC, and I might be teaching your children.

I know the other civil servants who teach your younger children were impressed by your sentiments. I have had four years out of the last 10 without a raise, and I have been furloughed up to 10 days without pay for the last two years.

So my message to Ebenezer Scrooge from Reisterstown, we appreciate your understanding of how hard we work for you daily and your willingness to fire us all unless we give up our benefits, but suggest you put that tape of "The Christmas Carol" back on your TV. In the meantime, we will continue to keep working for you even though you don't appreciate it.

Raymond Hoff, Columbia

The writer is a professor of physics at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

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