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Greed Fuels Police, Firefighter Unions

* It may seem highly inappropriate to criticize our public-servant firefighters and police in light of the many heroic acts some of these personnel performed during the earthquake and recent fires.

Nevertheless, the recent actions of police and firefighters in regard to blue-flu sickouts (Anaheim) and overtime requests (Westminster) to achieve labor-union goals are outrageous.

These public servants in Orange County do not work in cities with high-rises and crime problems as would occur outside Orange County. When I last checked average police and firefighter salaries, they seemed quite liberal in view of the economic troubles affecting our municipalities.

I believe money, and money only, is at the root of the disputes and work stoppages, and “raiding the till” does not serve anyone’s interests--the public’s or the public servants’. It takes a brave city administrator to face these unions these days to bring economic reality into focus. Constant floods of self-aggrandizing PR make the job of a city/county administrator too difficult.

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Why don’t these public-service personnel take a close look at what’s happening in the real world--the private sector. I hope their next siren is a wake-up call. Too much greed--even for good guys and gals.

DOUGLAS BENNETT

Dana Point

* I want to congratulate the cops of Anaheim for their sickout during the height of the earthquake crisis in Southern California. Their compassion, commitment and concern for our public safety is deeply appreciated, and the people of Anaheim will never forget it, I can assure you.

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Anaheim cops complain that they haven’t had a raise in 18 months. Big deal! I haven’t had a raise in over 36 months. So what does that prove? Absolutely nothing, that’s what. I know a lot of good people who don’t even have a job, let alone a raise. What about them?

Anaheim cops are simply angry because they now make less than cops in Santa Ana, Huntington Beach and a few other highly overtaxed cities. But a more rational case can be made that cops in those cities are overpaid, not that Anaheim cops are underpaid.

The real problem is that over the years there has been a needless and costly competitiveness in police pay. In a way, it has become a high-stakes poker game between police unions, with the taxpayers picking up the tab. Anaheim cops now think it’s their turn for a raise. Next time it will be another city. So goes the cycle.

Finally, it is obvious Anaheim cops have lost touch with the reality of the labor market in the private sector. The fact is that police pay, pensions and benefits are already far superior to most other professions or occupations. Furthermore, there is no real shortage of well-qualified applicants who are ready, willing and able to do the job.

PHILLIP KNYPSTRA

Anaheim


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