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County Workers Continue To Not Flee

The notion county employees are underpaid is a joke, and that government workers are “public servants” is a lie.

Are county workers threatening to strike? County Supervisors ought to smile, hold the doorways wide open, and cheerfully bid all to have a nice day.

Raise your hand if you give half a twiddle that a herd of “public servants” won’t be showing up for work Monday morning. Oh no, you say, lights have gone dim at County Counsel. And look! The elections office is empty, with November just a few months away. No one’s riding a desk at Building Services, and the grass at Low Gap Park might not get mowed this week.

Imagine, if you can, zero staffing at Human Services for six days in a row. Or six months. There’d be no one in those many cubicles to shuffle papers, plan their vacation, count paper clips, shop on Amazon, request office supplies, steal office supplies, plan their retirement, attend meetings and collect paychecks. Whatever shall we do?

It’s the same in dozens of other county offices filled with drowsy workers in a hot sweat to provide top-notch service to the public. As if. What they actually do is drain resources, provide indifferent service and take long lunches between mandatory breaks.

Again, raise your hand if a county-wide strike would cause you to suffer a single minute.

Compare that scenario to truckers going on strike. In 30 minutes Safeway and Raley’s would be down to a few PopTarts on a shelf and some People Magazines at the checkout counters.

Get this: Those bringing meat, potatoes, Cheerios, bread and beer to grocery stores are actually serving the public, and quite well, thank you very much. Some other neighbors who work for your benefit in ways no county administrative assistant ever will:

1) Ranchers, farmers, grape growers and field workers.

2) Nurses, doctors and all their medical staff.

3) Car mechanics, bank tellers, cops, grocery store workers, restaurant owners and their cooks and waiters.

4) Newspaper reporters, gas station employees, fast food workers, everyone at Ukiah’s Walmart, Kohl’s, Rod’s Shoes, Mendocino Book Company, Trouette Plumbing, Home Depot, Factory Pipe, JC Penney, Costco, Steve’s Service Center, Big Daddy supplies, Thurston Auto, Triple S Camera, Rainbow Ag and all 85 Mexican restaurants.

Private sector workers pay the taxes that pay the salaries for city, county, state and federal employees, along with their sick time, vacation time and very lush lifelong pensions. Few truckers, mechanics, reporters or farmers receive anything close to such compensation.

Why is that? Why should a Mendo Mill employee or a Ford dealership mechanic be obligated to support lavish lifetime salaries and huge pensions for government workers? Your kid is supposed to work two jobs so some 63-year old parasitic clown in Adult Protective Services can buy a second home in Hawaii??

I spent 24 years with the county and never heard co-workers complain much about the pay, and the thought someone might leave the county for a few bucks more an hour is ridiculous.

Does anyone think a social service drone is going to sell her home in Redwood Valley, find a worse house at twice the price in Marin County, put her kids in brand new schools with mean new friends, all because she’ll get a 10% raise? Or 20%?

And if she left, so what? The world is crawling in semi-educated swarms of office-fillers; the competition is not fierce when one disappears and needs be replaced. Far from it.

Plus, there’s no evidence other California counties are hungry to lure away Mendocino County’s highly skilled file clerks, intake workers, gardeners, compliance officers or anyone from Human Services.

And if you exit Ukiah, whaddya get?

1) Traffic jams.

2) Higher cost of living unless you move to Idaho, and Idaho won’t hire Californians because a million more would invade.

3) A new boss guaranteed to be smarter than the old Mendo County boss and who could, conceivably, demand competence. Big risk.

Supervisors must constantly be reminded they work for the citizens and taxpayers of Mendocino County, not the bureaucrats and office squatters uttering empty threats to go on strike or quit altogether, after 31 years on the job in order to take advantage of better opportunities in the private sector.

(And on cue, everyone laughs and laughs until they cry.)

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