A&E PRAISE What an entertaining and informative article that I found in my latest issue of the IN on Christmas plays written by Barry Shuck (Independent News, “Christmas Plays Offer Holiday Get-Togethers,” Nov. 25). My family loves plays. We always have company at Christmas, and as the article states they are here for the beautiful weather/beaches of Northwest Florida as their annual vacation (and yes, more laundry!). We usually get tired of always going to movies for things to do. This article is amazing and timely to us!
Now, not only do we have lots of options but the options outlined are Christmas-season related. How cool is that? And please keep it coming with events and stories about Vinyl Music Hall. Bubbs Harris always does an excellent job describing what not to miss. Thank you for your time and keep up the great work.
—Petrie Wyldnolinski, Navarre
FULL-BODY SCAN With budget shortfalls at an estimated $140 billion collectively, many U.S. states are facing Greece-like crises. While many states are considering cuts, tax increases or both, a detailed pat down of state and local employee pay and benefits should be their top priority.
• Half of all state and local government money was spent on wages and benefits in 2008 to the tune of $1.1 trillion, according to Sunshine Review.
• States have fallen $1 trillion short on what they are required to pay retired workers, according to the Pew Center on the States. Some estimates are even higher.
American taxpayers who are struggling to make ends meet are being forced to fund bloated systems rampant with abuse.
• According to the Chicago Tribune, “In Glencoe [Illinois], a free Jeep, bonuses and other perks to an outgoing parks director cost local taxpayers an extra $350,000. Joliet [IL] officials literally wrote pension spiking into the employee handbook, costing taxpayers there nearly $500,000 extra on the outgoing city manager alone.”
• A former city manager in California receives an annual $500,000 retirement check.
Many state employees have figured out how to game the system.
• After earning less than $10,000 a year for 24 years, a New Jersey public employee spent one year as a prosecutor with a salary of $141,000, raising his yearly pension from $3,600 to $70,000.
• An employee of the Department of Corrections in Massachusetts spent almost 30 years as an administrative assistant before becoming a prison guard. After working only one year as a corrections officer, her retirement will be that of a career prison guard.
Others have figured out that they can retire early, collect their generous pensions and then simply be rehired by the state, collecting both a pension and a paycheck, which is legal in several states.
• Judicial Watch uncovered a Phoenix Police Chief who was collecting a pension after he retired, while receiving a full salary for the identical job under a different title.
• According to Ohio News Organization, 27 percent of Ohio’s school superintendents are rehired retirees, who began collecting their pensions in their early 50s while still receiving regular paychecks.
While many states are attempting to address pension abuse, American taxpayers are still on the hook funding pensions of which they could only dream. It is no wonder two-thirds of the respondents of a recent Pew Center for the States poll said they “either never trust the state government to do what is right or trust it only some of the time.”
When the year of austerity hits the states, elected officials may find their constituents marching on their state capitol steps rather than in Washington D.C.
—Brent Regan, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
KUDOS Thank you so much for the lovely “Baby Steps” article (Independent News, “Outtakes,” Nov. 25). For once, a nice word about Ray and all he has done to support Pensacola’s progress in a forward-moving direction.
—Toshia Hasse, Pensacola
EVIL OUTTAKES One of my highlights each week is to read the IN to see what evil you are in. Your article on Bill Davis, a dead man who can not defend, is even low for a person as you (Independent News, “Outtakes,” Nov. 18). Would it be possible to put you in your Losers column?
—W.E. Grimsley, Louisville, Ky
GOOD JOB I wish to commend the work of employees of Lloyd’s Glass in Pensacola. I recently needed a glass replacement on my motor home. For no particular reason I chose Lloyd’s Glass to fix the many pits caused by road debris.
During the initial inspection, it was discovered the rubber gasket needed replacement. It was decided to contact my insurance company, which the staff did. I left my RV in good hands to repair the windshield. Later I received a call that after finishing the replacement, an accident had occurred. I went over to see the damage and discuss what remedies could be taken. In moving the RV out of the shop, it struck a service truck and bent the ladder and broke the safety latch on the mounted tow bar. It was evident that an accident had occurred and the management was apologetic and stated a fix was planned.
The end result, Lloyd’s Glass management went above and beyond to repair the damage. The broken safety latch on the tow bar required replacement of a major part of tow bar and the ladder needed to be replaced. Lloyd’s did not hesitate, they contacted a locate company supplying tow bars and ordered the new parts and repaired the tow bar to new condition. The ladder required a larger amount of time and effort, but, a new ladder was procured and installed. The entire replacements took several weeks because, of the age of the RV, replacement parts are difficult to obtain.
The bottom line; Lloyd’s Glass employees went above and beyond to keep me informed, purchase the replacement parts and install them to my satisfaction. They went beyond good customer service, it was doing the right thing for customer satisfaction. A very rare aspect of today’s business.
I highly recommend Lloyd’s Glass for any auto glass repairs for the “Can Do” attitude to do the right thing for customers. These guys are truly helpful and the quality of their work is second to none. The service is fast and the work is excellent.
—Leslie Bradford, Gulf Breeze