Elitism in state government

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, August 19, 2005

I read with interest the article about the governor raising the salary for the commissioners he appointed. It is very illuminating and says more about the governor's mindset than any speech he could make.

Public employees get little respect and acknowledgment for the work they do on behalf of the state of Alaska. The governor's actions have made this perfectly clear, and I believe he thinks we are ignorant as well. When public employees made the argument that by undervaluing and underpaying us that the state is losing the best qualified and highest caliber employees to other states or private enterprise, it was not a concern to the governor, the commissioners, nor any other appointed official. We were told the state of Alaska just cannot afford to pay fair market value for their employees. Imagine my surprise at reading our very same argument used as justification for making the commissioners some of the most highly paid public employees in the country.

I won't rehash all of the studies and articles that have been written in this very paper that show public employees haven't really had a raise in salary, but rather are losing wages due to the cost of living, that benefits and retirement systems are slowly being bled dry. I'm also not saying that the commissioners don't deserve their raise. That is a debate for someone else. It just seems to me to be a very arrogant and elitist position that the governor has taken when dealing with the employees of the state of Alaska. I hope that his statements will be remembered and held up to him for accountability when our next negotiations come around.

Virginia Waterhouse


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