The question is asked, who would liberate our government from the ravenous grip of union leaders? I believe by now all thinking persons in our community have come to realize that for too long our politicians have been giving in to the unconscionable demands of the union leaders in our community, not necessarily the rank and file members. To justify their existence and to retain the support of the rank and file union leaders have driven this government to the brink of bankruptcy. They have practically destroyed the merit system in government. Why an unproductive civil servant is, entitle to receive the same compensation as a very productive civil servant? We need fairness, justice in our government to improve the standard of service the public is entitled to receive. We need to restore and improve the merit system. We need a uniform compensation system for all our government employees.
Any reasonable person who subscribe to fair play, to justice, would agree that the unbridle demands of the unions should be checked, should be stopped. However, who have the courage; the intestinal fortitude to tell it like it is and says enough is enough to these unions? Is there anyone one in the political arena with enough moral fortitude and vision to courageously put a stop to the raid on the government treasury by the few greedy bunches? At first, some persons sought government job because they were truly patriotic and wanted to serve their community through public service. They understood the pay would not be the same as in the private sector but they got job security and other benefits to compensate. Now a day's people seek government jobs for other reasons. Most common perception, one does not have to work hard, there are many holidays and the pay is comparable or higher in many instances to the private sector. The clamor for the retroactive pay raises negotiated by the Executive Branch is not legal if it was not included in the budget approved by the Legislature.
The VI legislature is charged by statutes to approve the budget for the government. All actions of the other branches of government are expected to be in conformity with the approved budget.
We need to be realistic and honest with ourselves and with the community that we claim to care about. We have to recognize that there is an imbalance in the government structure. We are one community made up of two distinct sectors, as any other normal community, a private sector and a public sector. We do not need to have a degree in sociology or economics to understand what the relationship should be between the two sectors. However, applying those two disciplines to the two systems will help. We should not sacrifice one sector for the benefit of the other. Instead, we should ensure the healthy development of both sectors for the benefit of the entire community. If we are myopic, there is enough medical help to correct that defect. If we do not correct our course, and do it very soon, we would end up like some USA jurisdictions that had to file for bankruptcy because their leaders did not have the vision nor the fortitude to arrest the downward spiral before it was too late. We do not have to reinvent the wheel nor any other devices that already exist; we only need make the necessary adjustments to meet our particular situation.
This is why so many people long for the type of leadership that the late Governor Cyril E. King epitomized when he stood up to the teachers in defense of the rest of the community. We should not let a segment of the community large or small put in peril the welfare of the rest of the community. Just because a group is boisterous does not make them right or just. We should stop capitulating to loud mouths, to small segments of the community to the detriment of the rest of the community. Would our present Governor demonstrate enough courage and vision in addressing our myriad of problems? I certainly hope he will for the sake of our community. Would Governor de Jongh stand up to the union leaders and put them in their places, not allowing them to dictate to the government on personnel policies. Would the leaders in the Senate stand up and resist the union leaders lobby to grant them special favors in detriment of the rest of the government? I hope they would exercise enough courage and fortitude and do what it best for the majority of our residents.
Our personnel system needs to be revamped. We need to restore the personnel merit system throughout the government, in all three branches of government. It is up the legislature to establish these positive changes. The Senators, collectively, the legislature, are charged with making effective and comprehensive policies for our government. The Senators need to stop making excuses and looking for scapegoats. They need to be involved with the community and search for common solutions to our common problems. As presumptuous as most of them are, they need a reality check, they do not have all the answers, most answers can be found within the community. They need to open up and get off their high horse, before they fall, and communicate with the people, in public hearings, in community forums, one on one, etc. The Governor needs to do the same, keep in touch with the people who elected him. Participate in forums on a regular basis, set aside a period of the month for audience with the people. It only requires good will and good time management. "TOGETHER WE CAN!" Will we together do it?
J. J. Estemac
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