Ohio Legislature Is Fighting the Wrong Battle Public Employees Wages and Benefits are Not the Problem Too Much Government Is the Real Problem

It is proof SB 5, the Ohio Legislature’s effort to gut collective bargaining for public employees is only about attacking pubic employee unions who those legislators view as a political enemy is that the conservative legislators promoting this effort are missing a chance to focus on the real problem with the cost of government in Ohio. These “alleged” conservatives are ignoring the much bigger problem:

The  problem in Ohio isn’t that pubic employees are overpaid for the hard and important work that they do. The problem is that we have too many local government entities in Ohio and hence too many public employees.

As a Liberty School Board Member, I was horrified to watch as two public school districts, Girard and Liberty operated with no cooperative cost sharing whatsoever existed side by side in the same 5 by 5 mile square. Citizens who live down the street from the new Girard High School actually live in the Liberty School District. Separate police, fire, road and rescue services are duplicated in the same jurisdiction.

As Attorney General, I was amazed at the inefficiency and waste that the existence of more than 1000 police departments and 88 Sheriff’s Offices caused for real tax dollars that should have been devoted to fighting crime

If Ohio’s leaders were truly serious about the reform of the laws surrounding public employee collective bargaining they would not be focusing on limiting collective bargaining rights but instead focusing on creating processes tools and financial incentives that empower school districts, county governments and local governments with collective bargaining agreements to consolidate services or merge.

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Posted in labor, Uncategorized, Working Class Issues
One comment on “Ohio Legislature Is Fighting the Wrong Battle Public Employees Wages and Benefits are Not the Problem Too Much Government Is the Real Problem
  1. Penny Olmstead says:

    Dear Sir,

    I am an educator that is in agreement of teacher accountability. I also believe that we are in need of standardized testing, but only through NAEP (National Assessment for Educational Progress) where we can all (state by state) be held accountable equally. I also believe that we need to have reforms to teacher evaluations (both qualitative and quantitative) to assure a quality education is being given to all children; but, there are larger concerns and issues at hand going on within our communities that are not being presented to the public.
    I am a teacher of a wonderful, nearby school system and would like to share some information with your reading audience that isn’t always spoken about in an open forum and I am unsure why.
    Whether you are a supporter or opponent of Ohio State Senate Bill #5, I would like to present some additional information that neither legislation nor our Unions choose to give out.
    We are not being appropriately informed. We have children requiring food, health care, clothing, and personal need supplies on a daily basis. Why aren’t these areas being addressed; instead, we are discussing which additional standardized test we can implement (additional billions of dollars, nationwide) or which teacher or staff member incentive we can take away to assure the public that their child is receiving a good education.
    The governor is fighting to slash 10% of education and hopes to take the little bit of support we receive from collective bargaining rights to balance the budget. The direction we are going in has me perplexed. It also has me thinking, where should I live and teach next?
    Whether it is politically correct to make known or not; we have many female adolescent girls coming to school without the supplies necessary to meet their feminine needs due to lack of money within their homes. We have many students coming to school and completing hygiene skills prior to the start of their school day because there is no money in the homes to meet these needs and yet, we (teachers) make sure on a daily basis that this necessity is being met. When students are ill and the homes are called, we have parents telling us that they do not have gas in their cars to come and get their child and yet the school districts are not fully funded to have nurses in every school 7 hours a day, therefore it is the responsibility of the teacher, paraprofessionals and staff to meet these needs.
    We are fortunate and blessed to have many schools in the area that provide a free breakfast to all students, because if we didn’t; we would have students coming to school hungry. Money is not provided to the teachers to meet these needs, nor do we negate to provide these items or other school supplies because it is not within our job description. I am exhausted by legislation (both federal and local) trying to label the problem of our education system being solely that of the educator. I feel that presenting State Senate Bill 5 in the manner it has been portrayed is just another wedge wanting to be placed between educator and family to meet the needs of legislation. I do not have a budget given to me by the school system or the state department of education to meet the personal needs of the students. Our administrators spend more time and work tirelessly to jump through hoops of budget slashing obstacles due to the poor economy.
    Yes, it is my career choice to remain being an educator. I want to make a positive impact and difference in the lives of my student(s), but I can’t do it alone. It is not meeting my moral standards and I cannot in good conscience allow the public to remain uninformed. This is where I stand as an educator.
    Thank you for reading;
    Penny Hazelip-Olmstead
    Steubenville, OH

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