Fletcher being unfair to state employees

March 10, 2004

Dear Editor:

As a state employee, I am very disappointed with Governor Fletcher. I understood that he was going to be fair in coping with the state's economic crisis. However, that is not true.

The Herald Leader reported that Fletcher has hired 28 people with salaries over $100,000. In recent weeks, we learned that he is also proposing severe cuts to security and benefits of the ordinary state employee.

First, he is proposing putting employees on furlough, thus subjecting us to the prospect of political decisions for furloughs and retentions. Next, our yearly increment has been cut to 1 1/2 percent, if we have not worked too long. Then, it is a flat amount less than the 1 1/2 percent. Then, he has proposed decreasing our flexible benefits from a maximum of $250 to $100 subjecting a greater part of our income to taxation. Then, he has proposed raising the employee share for health insurance, and raising the deductibles and co-pays. At this point, I cannot even deduce how much I will lose with the governor's plan.


I worked 27 years with low pay and finally reached a point two years ago when I hoped to live comfortably and for a decent retirement. Now my hopes have disappeared. Yet, I am not in as much jeopardy as young people who are not making a living wage and having to work two part-time jobs while working for the state and barely affording insurance for their families.

I have always thought that the state treats its employees who serve the down-trodden, prisoners, etc. with the same regard that it treats those classes of citizens. Now that seems evident, so state employees can be ignored while teachers are receiving second consideration.

Write to the governor and your legislators urging them to be fair to all who provide necessary services, not just one class of public servant. Also urge the governor to cut the salaries of the 28 individuals to $90,000 per year. This would free a significant amount of funds for state employees and teachers.

Billie Jones Stockton


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