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posted: 9/12/2013 4:56 AM

Public worker count isn't state's problem

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Public worker count isn't state's problem

When the topic of government units is broached, townships are generally the target for elimination because Illinois has the most government units. No time is spent to point out that this state ranks 37th in the number of people in the public sector relative to the population.

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This rank jumps to 13th (U.S. Census 2011) based on what they are paid. Illinois ranks No. 1 in library employees per capita; No. 2 in police; No. 3 in parks and recreation; No. 4 in firemen; No. 5 in transit workers; 34th in highway workers; 39th in public welfare employees; 39th in education employees but this jumps to 18th when pay is considered.

The big problem in the Illinois public sector is not the number of government units, it is what the employees are paid. We get terrible 'service' from the public sector because there are not enough employees due to budget constraints -- residents will only pay so much before they move out of state.

Employees in the Illinois public sector are overpaid when compared to other states. State Rep. Jack Franks chairs a committee to study the reduction in government units. Has this commission not acted because the obvious cuts should come in library boards? Parks and recreation boards? Fire protection districts? Police departments? Transit workers?

Public employees who want higher wages, look at the worker next to you; with your increase, he/she may be gone! Taxpayers vote with their feet which take them out of state. I suggest Franks should do sound research. It is very disturbing that Illinois ranks No. 5 for the busiest highways (http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/pressroom/fhwa1335.cfm), but we rank No. 34 in highway employees.

Evert Evertsen

Harvard

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