ProJo’s Portrait of State Worker Plight Strikes Questionable Tone
In a state with 13% unemployment and high taxes that go, in part, to fund the not ungenerous compensation of public employees such as Ms. Esposito, do you suppose the Providence Journal thinks they’re doing public employees a favor with stories such as this in yesterday’s paper?
Linda Esposito, a keeper of vital records for the state Health Department, says Governor Carcieri should stop picking on state workers every time there’s a financial crisis.
“Unfortunately, the governor feels that when there’s a problem, state employees are the first people he looks to, to help fix the problem,” Esposito said. Layoffs “are just going to add to the unemployment lines,”
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In Esposito’s department, where births, deaths and marriage records are filed, public hours were cut in half in February; the department has shrunk through attrition and “we’re all in there trying to pick up the slack,” she said. “I’m a single working parent. It hits us the hardest, with only one paycheck. That’s the thing, if I don’t pay my rent to my landlord, I’m going to be out on the street. The state has to manage its money better.”
Give some workers credit; it appears that they politely declined to comment when buttonholed.
Esposito was one of a few state workers who agreed to speak about the imbroglio between Carcieri, state workers and their unions, over shutdown days and potential layoffs.
“No, thank you” and “All set, thank you,” and “No comment,” were the more frequent responses from state workers who ate lunch outside the Department of Administration building at One Capitol Hill yesterday.
One gentleman even got the source of the problem right.
But [Ted] Cooper places the blame with legislators, who “kind of stuck [Carcieri] with the budget.”
All in all, however, it’s difficult to believe that an article consisting mainly of this motif
“I can’t take anymore cuts in pay,” said [state worker Peter] Blais. “I just keep losing money. You get an increase of so many percent, but then you start getting more taken out” for health insurance.
would be near the top of the to-do list of a p.r. professional seeking to advance the position of the public employee in this state.