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Red-StaterWisdoms explores the differences between the Red and Blue states on social, personal and political issues.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Open Thread

I'm chasing myself.....Here's an Open Thread to occupy yourselves while I'm running around doing errands.

56 Comments:

Anonymous Sallyann said...

Have you ever seen anything so terrible as what hurricane Katrina has done to New Orleans, Boloxi and surrounding Gulf coastline? I watched the latest video last night and was absolutely stunned. What's really weird is, Katrina is above our heads right now. It's as if she's sneaking out the back door ashamed of what's she's done.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is about time the Congress and the President wake up and start taking care of our own people. All monies designated for foreign countries should be spent here at home to help the victims of the disaster in the Gulf region. Oil reserves should be released and prices brought down so people in rural areas like ours can afford to drive to work and still be able to feed and clothe their families. I have not heard of any foreign country coming to our aid in this disaster and how many times has the US sent billions overseas for disaster relief. Enough is enough. Anyone else feel as I do?

7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep- Can feel nothing but sorry for that area-especially having seen the conditions that some of the people there survive under.
Lesson to be learned however. With all the modern technology of weather forecasts,etc. people should take heed and follow orders to evacuate.
Cannot excuse or feel sorry for the looters,but am notin the least surprised..

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Eileen Leech said...

Just a note on Katrina.. we just moved from that area 3 years ago.. I am just heartbroken to see the damage the hurricane caused... As you all know New Orleans is below sea level.. I have stood many times on the river walk looking up at the ships passing by... My husband always worried about the storm serge the lake would cause if the hurricane was bad enough.. we lived only about a mile and a half from the lake in a little resort community, named Mandeville.. It is at the north end of the 25 mile bridge that crosses the lake to the Northshore... Thank God we moved to Houston several years ago and we were spared.. The worry now is about our neighbors, whom I got an email from on Sunday night saying they were riding it out .. they were boarded up, sandbagged, had food and water and a genarator.. I have tried several times to call their cell phones with no luck.. the batteries are probably run down.. We did get a report that our friends in Mettarie are ok.. they had to drive to Tyler,Tx and are now on their way to stay with family in Houston..I am so thankful the people are getting out of the city.. Just hope and pray they appreciate the Houston hospitality.. One time we had to evacuate and the Super Dome was opened to homeless, those who couldn't get out of the city,etc and they litterly stole every thing not nailed down... it was a mess. We only evacuated one time while we were living there, had to drive to Memphis before finding a room and believe me it is a terrible feeling to pull away from your home not knowing what will be when you return. I will never forget the sad feelings! NO matter what your living conditions.. Home is where you hang your hat..
I do believe New Orleans will never be the same.it has uniqueness, history and always a great place to visit, especially at Mardi Gras time.. Did y'all see the Mardi Gras beads lying around in the flood waters?????? .. Pray for those people, they have nothing left and be ever grateful for what you have to be grateful for.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Marc said...

Sally- I would like your opinion as well as other town tax payers on the town boards latest decision.They said the highway supervisor can not hire a new employee until January because this would put the new employee under the new contract and save the town some money on new employees insurance.They seem to forget that we have bus routes to plow and sand before the buses run and we were pressed many times to get over the roads before buses when there were 4 employees.That was why we have been asking for additional help for years.But now there will only be 3 trying to cover 4 mens routes.Cant be done!So everyone should be prepared for a bad winter.Think about your kids or grandkids coming down some of these icy hills because we cant get all the roads done before buses run.Do you think the taxpayers would rather pay a little more for insurance now or drive bad roads till January to save a buck?After all what do the tax payers get for their taxes?We are it!The highway crew and equipment.I cant beleive they would rather save a few dollars on insurance rather then have a new employee that is familiar with roads and equipment before the snow flies this year.They will be saving $3.00 an hour on a new hire anyway.If you or any of the tax paying readers agree lets here from you.Board meeting this Tuesday at 7 p.m. Let your voices be heard.Remember the board works for you the TAX PAYER!!!!!!! They say this is whats best for you .Do you agree?

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a vote to hire a fourth person -NOW. Who says it can't be done until January. Never heard of such foolishness. Maybe you should all take a leave of absence,go on vacation,etc. Where would that leave us the taxpayers. My vote,also, goes to have substitute personnel trained to work in case something like this happens again or if there is a medical emergency,etc. Pretty poor personel planning if illness and emergency situations aren't covered. Has anyone considered hiring more than 4 men-in the busiest time of the year? Nothing like working the poor horse to death.
SEEMS THERE IS MONEY TO SPEND ON A NEW BUILDING ,BUT NOT TO PAY THE GUYS WHO DO THE NITTY-GRITTY WORK. WEIRD!!
Keep up the good work-Dick, Marc, Neal and Herbert.

9:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cant believe the town wont hire another man before January! Just a few weeks ago we talked on here about how the town only had four men for all the miles and so many of us were in awe over this fact. So many of us were not aware.The town crew saved the town money by pitching in on some of the improvements themselves..correct?? Now the town wants to save more by this? Is it worth it? Cost cutting is good in general, but, lets have a little common sense. The hours these men will now be forced to work and the rate of pay they will receive for doing so could be cut some by adding another to help. This is unheard of. Emergency personel and school buses depend on these men as well as you and I. This needs to be brought up and looked at again! The town needs more men and now is not the time to be tight and cut corners or brush it under the rug! It wont be the highway depts fault when they have worked all night during a snow or ice storm and that one road they didnt get to, yet, has an emergency an the road is unpassable. Pay the money and get them more help. It may not have been a good time to loose any highway help, but it was uncontrolled. Get them more help! This is ridiculous! The citizens depend too much on the crew. The dont deserve this. This just is not fair or right. This can not be ignored! For our families safety...speak up!!

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said. What's the old saying-"Cut off your nose to spite your face" or something to that effect".
Trift looks good on paper,but not always good for the end results.
Maybe town needs some new blood at the helm.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Teresa said...

Everyone needs to make sure and go to the Town Board meeting Tuesday, Sept. 6 and bring this up. The board members don't know the town peoples feelings if they don't show up and let them know!!! Stop in tell your neighbors, call people you know get them to mark their calendars and get to the meeting Tuesday at 7pm. This effects us all even if it isn't snowing, there are rain washouts, trees down all this depends on the guys at the Highway Dept. When it was 4 it was tough to get it all covered. Think and act now!!!!

11:49 AM  
Anonymous kathyb said...

My vote goes for hiring now. There is another old saying - "a ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". What might seem like saving a few bucks now could end up costing a fortune later, if we get hit with an early winter.

On another note- regarding the rising cost of gas. I filled my tank up on Tuesday evening in Lawrenceville for $2.69/gallon. Wednesday morning I went over to fill the gas cans for our mowers only to find that all of the stations had upped their fuel prices by 20 cents overnight. As of yesterday they were all up to $3.12/gallon.

There are laws on most state books that bar gas stations from raising their prices until they receive their next fuel load(a sales price increase normally is due to a fuel cost increase) and I am sure that all 3 stations did not get fuel loads overnight on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Hess station on the Miracle Mile was selling fuel for 2.73 on Wednesday evening.Guess they are less inclined to profiteering.

Anyways, the president did authorize the refineries that were affected to tap their reserves, a few days ago, so that the supplies would not be badly disrupted. What we are all seeing is a knee jerk reaction by the marketplace.

If we had a serious shortage right now, we would all be waiting in lines, limited to when we could fuel (remember odd and even days?) and seeing signs on stations stating they were out of gas, like we did in the late 1970s. There is obviously enough fuel available to anyone willing to pay the price.

Whining about the prices or trying to blame President Bush for our own failure to conserve solves nothing.

My solution- cut down on unnecessary travel, consolidate your trips, share rides when possible and conserve wherever you can. If financially possible, look at buying a hybrid fuel car. The only thing, short of a congressional order, that will get fuel prices back in check will be if demand decreases. It is the old rule about supply and demand. The prices will rise or fall based on what the market can bear. Prices will continue to increase until such time as consumers say "we have had enough" and prove it by hitting them where it hurts- in their pocketbooks.

The reality is that, like everything else, oil in a finite resource. The day will come when there really is a shortage and we should all be doing what we can now to forestall that day as long as possible.

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question- Is it the Town Board,Highway Super,the Town Supervisor, a Councilman or the Union saying that the new person can't be hired? I am under the impression that Highway Dept.is supposed to be run by the Highway Superintendant.
If so, why the need for the other parties to be involved?

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good question...why is it the Supt. cant hire who he feels is needed? Why should it be such a big to do. Out of everyone in the Town, Id say he is the most qualified to decide this. I could understand the board being involved in the pay issues, naturally, but if the highway dept. needs more help...so be it!

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Marc said...

The town board has told Dick he is not allowed to hire a new employee until after January to save on insurance cost under the 2006 contract that wont cover a family plan anymore. If hired now new employee would get the same coverage as the 3 working now.Dick wants to hire now to give new employee time to become familiar with the towns roads ,equipment,plow routes not to mention get the best benefit the family covered insurance.We asked Dick how meeting went and he said the town board told him no new hires until January 1st.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have heard in so many meetings Harold Semple say that the town board has no control over Dick(highway Dept.)What has changed? Dick is the highway Supt. let him hire who he wants. if it is today or tomorrow it is his choice. I also feel like the person said earlier, we need new blood in the Town Hall!!!

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoa-wait a minute. Under the "open laws of government" when did the "Town Board" meet officially to decide this and why wasn't the public informed of a meeting. Aren't the taxpayers supposed to know about these meetings? Certainly, there has been no published Board meeting since the death of the employee..Something doesn't sound quite Kosher here. Why the big secret????

4:20 PM  
Anonymous Sallyann said...

Marc: From what I understand, you are saying the Board has postponed the hiring of another highway department employee until after January in order to save the Town money on insurance premiums. I am assuming the insurance savings must be substantial in order for the board to have made a decision that essentially created a “short-handed” situation for the Highway Department for four full months. You also stated that even with a four-man crew you were still “short-handed” and that’s why you’ve been asking for additional help for years. Judging from this information, there appears to be a “disconnect” between the Board and the Highway Department. Obviously, the Board does not agree with your assessment that the Highway Department is under staffed; otherwise they would have approved the hiring of a “fifth” crew member at some point in the past. They are reinforcing this belief by agreeing the Highway Department can go four months without a “fourth” employee without compromising road maintenance and public safety. Like I said, there is a disconnect between the Board and the Highway Department.

Questions that beg to be answered at the next Board meeting are: Is the Highway Department under staffed or isn’t it? And if the Board has already determined that the Department is adequately manned, how did they arrive at this conclusion? Is the Board’s decision going to manifest a substantial savings for the Town on insurance costs to justify the postponement of a hire until January? What contingency plan does the Board have if a “weather event” occurs before January that requires extra man hours to resolve? Can the Highway Department go four months without a replacement hire without compromising road maintenance and public safety? Would hiring a part-time employee be a compromise? All these questions have answers that the taxpayer must form an opinion around.

Either this is a case of “jumping over a dollar to save a penny”, or it is an exercise of fiscal responsibility on the Board’s part. The Board and the Highway Department must make their cases Tuesday night before a vote is taken or tabled pending more information.

Regarding the comment on “open laws of government”: I will take an opportunity to campaign….If I’m elected Supervisor, one of the first things I will institute is “an agenda” that will be sent out to every Board member and posted on the blog and in other public places before a Board meeting. An agenda gives the public as well as Board members a “heads up” on what issues will be addressed at the Town Board meeting. .

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well lets see my opinion as im sure most would agree with me is that if harold semple cant rule then nothing will happen yes it should have been announced of such a meeting the money IS there for a new man why cant they see with open eyes when bad weather hits lets put one board member with each man for an all night and day see if they like it espially for the wage wage these 3 men get WAKE UP LINDLEY look around yourselfs

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Marc said...

Sally- The meeting was supposed to be just a signing of the agreed upon contract between our union and Harold.That is in my best guess why there was no announcement.As for saving money on the insurance. The town had agreed to continue the same insurance coverage the 4 of us have now.So it was already figured in budget for a family plan for our missing employee.This means there would be no difference if the new employee was hired now under the family plan.As for the board feeling only 3 employees is good enough for the first several weeks of winter.Lets see how many board members have children coming off these hills in buses in the winter?Why not ask the tax paying parents how they feel about this?The ones who live on these hills whose childrens saftey depends on the highway Dept.As for how many employees are needed .Dont you think the guys who are aware of what and how much work needs to be done would have a good idea?Dont recall the board asking our opinion on that.I cant count the times we have put off planned vacations to complete road projects when weather permmited completion. How do you measure in money banked to public saftey? I think this should be the tax payers call!

7:28 PM  
Anonymous cj said...

As I understand it there has been no official vote on the hire issue. That can only be done at a regular town board meeting. Since this was a labor relations meeting for the sole purpose of the union contract it was not open to the public as it is considered a personel matter, therefore does not come under th eopen meeting law. I also understand this was not a unanimous agreement on the part of the board so someone is trying to create havoc where there is none. If you haven't spoken with each board member then you don't know what their feeling is so lets not lynch someone without ALL the facts. It would be interesting to know just what each employee gets in benefits each week, month or year and just how much insurance costs the town. The way I see it my insurance is part of my pay and so I would think it is also part of the town employees pay. We should have all the facts before we get all excited over something that may not happen.

cj

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If all the councilmen are not in agreement with the no hire poicy;then let them be man enough to say so. Somehow,somewhere-the rumor got started that this would save the taxpayers money. Is this a case of being Penny Wise and Pound Foolish. Remember-you get what you pay for and sometimes the bargain is not the bargain you supposed it to be .

It is about time the people in Lindley became aware of how our town government actually operates.Often times,decisions have been made outside the confines of the official Board meeting.

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Marc. If there wasnt an open meeting about this...let there be one and lets get these guys some help now! There's no excuse good enough. It was already figured in the budget so whats the big deal???

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Marc said...

C.J.-No offical vote on issue until board meeting this tuesday at 7 p.m. sounds like a very good reason to rally the tax payers to come to meeting and let the elected board know their veiws on this matter.I would hardly call tax payers coming to a board meeting a lynching party!As for rumor if your supervisor told you something related to your job would you say it was just a rumor?And as to the wage question i make 11.25 a hour and am going on 9 years with town.Compare my wages to surrounding town employees that do same job.We work for you the tax payer so any information about what we are paid is public information all you need do is go to town hall and ask our clerk to see what everyone in town is paid and im sure she would show you gladly.P.S. Im not attacking your disagreement with me just trying to clear up your questions the best i can. Diversity is cool.

7:52 AM  
Anonymous cj said...

Marc, you make $11.25 an hour PLUS uniforms furnished and insurance which come to over $36,000 per year and this isn't including unemployment, disability and paid vacations. Many folks would like to have such a nice income. Sorry but that is how I see it. I consider benenfits part of a complete package as do most employers and you should be thankful these are provided for you. I contribute to my insurance benefits and don't make as much as you do! I do my homework just like you suggested.
cj

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Marc said...

C.J.- I dont recall the issue of how much i make being the main issue being discussed here.You have gotten off the track of hiring a new employee. Glad you did your homework then you know how our towns employees stand compared to neighboring towns. I have through the county! You know what i do for a living but i dont know what you do so cant compare apples to oranges! I never said we didnt have good benefits .I said we want our new hire to have the same coverage that the remaining 3 employees have now.Remember we have been saying the problem is 3 guys having trouble covering all the roads before bus runs if we get hit with inclement weather before January! So lets not throw stones about something that is not the issue.:)

11:41 AM  
Anonymous cj said...

Oh but that is the issue! Health care benefits are out of control and without raising taxes sky high there has to be containment. If not eventually these benefits won't be available to anyone. Look at what industry is doing and the future is pretty clear. You use temps or only under a 40 hour work week and you have no benefits. Containment has to start at home tough as it may be. My spouse has no benefits so I basically work for the benefits. In this day and age it takes two to even make ends meet as you well know.
cj

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey cj if you know so much how come u didnt mention money out of OWN pocket 4 uniforms? what was u born with a silver spoon wake up to realality !three people got a lot of roads to cover hope u are on last of roadwork

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cj seems u have a persnal problem are u jealousthat maybe u are not one to get the job u probly couldnt handle it anywaymust be you are are on s----e side

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It wquld seem to me, C.J. that you should ask yourself this ouestion. When did it become the job of the town board to make decsions of this magnatude without asking thier constituents. Also you said your wife is employed,not everyone is in that boat. If you are unhappy with your employment situation it's up to you to change it,unlike the town employees who are haveing it done for them under the guise of(saving the taxpayer)money.How much is the safty of your loved ones worth in your mind.Let's ask the school bus drivers how safe they feel on unmaintained roads.If you do not work for a highway dept. you have no way to understand what goes on out there every day. It would seem you should take the word of those who do this for a living over those who only sit in judgement and squeeze a penny til Abe yells

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay- bottom line -so I can make an educated decision --as a taxpayer interested in how the highway spends its money.
Just HOW MUCH MONEY IN DOLLARS AND CENTS would be saved by not hiring a person until January. Perhaps, Marc or a Board member with access to the figures can tell us.
It would seem that Mr. Sawyer's salary and insurance benefits are already in the budget for 2005.
It would also seem that a new hire would not receive a starting salary comparable to Mr. Sawyers-for the remaining months this year Right?? So there is a savings. How much? Now if Mr. Sawyer had not met an untimely death, the town would still be paying his salary and insurance benefits from now until January 1st and next year-2006. So what we have is a new person receiving a smaller salary, but the same insurance benefits that Mr. Sawyer would have received. Now tell me-which is greater-the insurance payment or the amount saved on the new hire's salary for the next 4 months and the 12 months next year. Quick grab your calculators!!
We have the emotional side of the picture-child safety, plowed roads for the buses, mailmen, people needing to get to their jobs,etc. These are important factors-but since the subject of saving the town money has been broached-how much???? AND IS IT WORTH RISKING THE UNFORSEEN SIDE EFFECTS-such a the present crew having to work overtime. How much could this amount to?
I have old timers tell me that before the Union came to Town, the Highway Superintendant could be more flexible in his scheduling of employee's time,hiring temporary employees-the list goes on. I suppose the Union has improved the highway crew's benefits, but it seems that in doing so it has tied the Highway Superintendant's apron strings.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT -FOLKS

7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well sir..just from what I can figure out is that since the town does have Ronnies salary,and insurance,and other benefits figured into the budget.....hiring a new guy now wouldnt put the town out any money,and it still comes back to, atleast in my eyes, that we,the taxpayers should be able to have safe roads for all of our tax dollars, and with only three men working the roads....it just can not,and will not happen they just can't keep up with the roads when we get a bad storm.....the town barely got by with 4 guys....so it really shouldn't be an issue at all we HAVE to have another guy working taking care of the roads that aren't in the best of condition......which im sure everyone reading this knows about them...steap hills, sharp turns, and adding ice and snow to these roads can make it absolutley parilous.....now while Mr. Semple may not agree that we need atleast four guys (we really need more then that) he lives on a flat paved road that is county maintained.....and while i dont know how many guys work for the county..I know it is more then 4. So...here's another one for getting a new guy NOW.

12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since the budget is already made out for ronnies salary and insurance with other benefits it wouldn't put the town out any money in fact the town would still be saving money because a new guy would start with a lower salary then ronnie. so really as far as i understand the town can hire a new guy keep the roads atleast done so....it shouldnt be an issue at all. Another one fore hiring a guy now

12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since the budget is already made out for ronnies salary and insurance with other benefits it wouldn't put the town out any money in fact the town would still be saving money because a new guy would start with a lower salary then ronnie. so really as far as i understand the town can hire a new guy keep the roads atleast done so....it shouldnt be an issue at all. Another one fore hiring a guy now

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since the budget is already made out for ronnies salary and insurance with other benefits it wouldn't put the town out any money in fact the town would still be saving money because a new guy would start with a lower salary then ronnie. so really as far as i understand the town can hire a new guy keep the roads atleast done so....it shouldnt be an issue at all. Another one fore hiring a guy now

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah FoodForThought, you have finally seen the light.

10:06 AM  
Blogger marcia said...

Cj- I think your personal attack on my Father (Marc) is appalling. I commend my Father for staying in that area and working his butt off, for many times all night shifts, to keep your roads safe. My father goes out whether he is sick and exhausted or not. He is on call for all hours of the day and night. If not for his dedication and the dedication of the other men in that department, where would you be? These Highway men risk their lives every time there is an ice or snowstorm, or just another road washout to keep you and your families safe. They head out, whenever it is unsafe for you to be out. Whatever my father makes is none of your business and in my opinion, it is not enough. You cannot heat your house or feed your family with the cost of uniforms and insurance.

Do you all remember the two bus accident that happened in the mid 80's, right here in Lindley? It was a busload of children on the way to school. I know that some members of the board had children on that bus.It was a result of poor road conditions. It was terrifying and several children were hurt badly. My brother and I were two of the children on that bus. I don't want your children to have to go through the same thing. I know that every day my father goes out to take care of your roads in unsafe conditions, he remembers that day, and does his best to make the roads safe before the buses head out.

The people who make the decisions to cancel school, do not think about all the school buses that have to head up and down steep hills in Lindley. Your highway men can only do the best they can with a limited staff.

This is the time to rally behind your highway crew and in turn for yourselves. Keep my family and yours safe. Thank you.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sally,
You should print these ideas off and drop them off to the town hall for submission at the next meeting! Theres a good chance some of the members may not have a computer and they should read these for themselves. It would let them know what an issue it has become amongst the town. With any luck, they may feel the same and overturn Mr. Semple's decision. Everyone...show up an voice your opinion. Dont make the Highway Dept. try to fight this all alone. Our feelings need to be taken into consideration as well.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sally,
GREAT idea to take these messages to Town Board. So far, I have not seen one argument for a no hire before January. So your site is the same as an INFORMAL poll. If our school board member-Vaughn could conduct an informal pole-why not one on the Lindley blogger site.
Oh yes, doesn't our suoervisor Mr. Semple drive a school bus. He should be well aware how treacherous some of the Lindley bus routes can become in an ice or snow storm. Nuff said

12:07 PM  
Anonymous kathyb said...

In response to -cj said...
Marc, you make $11.25 an hour PLUS uniforms furnished and insurance which come to over $36,000 per year and this isn't including unemployment, disability and paid vacations.

Exactly what formula did you use to come up with your $36,000 figure. 52 weeks times 40 hours/week = 2,080 hours per year. 11.25 per hour times 2080 = $23,400 (this figure accounts for vacations, by the way). Are you assuming that all of the other benefits provided cost $ 12,600?
That would mean that the total benefits cost be 54% of the salary. That's about 20 - 25% over the national average. I find that hard to believe and I have overseen hiring formy company for 11 years. You might want to re-check your math, or explain your calculation to the rest of us.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Git Em' Kathy!!!

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If The Town Board is always saying we can not do anything about the town crew because dick has a budget and runs the town crew then why if dick has money in his budget to cover hiring a new man or 2 men why do they say no now? As in the supervisors words DICK HAS A BUDGET. WE CAN NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT WHAT THE TOWN CREW BUYS OR DOES THEY HAVE A BUDGET. Maybe he always used these words to aviod having to face the issues.

5:14 AM  
Anonymous kathyb said...

I wasn't trying to get CJ- just wanting some facts to support his/her comments. I have run the accounting and human resources area for our company for 11 years and deal with benefits cost numbers, etc. all the time. CJ may very well be correct but, CJ needs to provide facts to support the statement- not just make off the cuff statements and expect everyone to believe them.

Sal is providing a great resource for our town with this blog and has given us all the opportunity to stay informed and have meaningful discussions that will help us all see the "whole" picture. Let's all use it in the spirit it was intended!

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Marc said...

Bloggers-A big thanks to Sally and Kathy B for their hard work at crunching numbers that opened everyones eyes at the board meeting tonight .The breakdown of cost cleared up the cost of hiring a new employee now!My math stinks glad these two ladies have a mind for figures.

10:14 PM  
Anonymous Sallyann said...

Thanks Marc. It always pays to look at all the options when you're trying to solve a problem. And one of those options appeared on this blog. The commenter who stated the pay scale differential would effect labor cost enough to justify the immediate hiring of another crew member was right. And it was just a matter of crunching the numbers to prove that Dick could hire another employee immediately and save the town money at the same time.

A very astute councilman, Paul Mortzheim, saw the wisdom in the figures and made a presentation at the board meeting last night stating so. Kathy and I presented the board with our figures to verify the fact that the pay scale differential had a significant effect on the numbers which basically resulted in a "net zero effect".

In other words, the projected savings by the board by not hiring a permanent, full time employee until after January 1, 2006 and by reducing the family insurance plan coverage to single converage would be $7,352 annually. The reality was that hiring a new employee immediately with the family insurance plan intact, still saves the town $1,143.62 annually because the pay scale differential is approximately $3.50/hr.

The board was looking to postpone the hiring of an employee until after January to avoid having to pay for a "family health insurance package". They were also considering the option of hiring a "temporary employee" that would assure road service would be maintained for the next four months, but would still eliminate the expense of a family package. Essentially, the board did not want to "lock" the new employee into the old contract that was destined to change after January 1, 2006.

It was a noble effort considering the exhorbitant cost of health insurance, but there were other considerations that had as much value to the town as the bottom line that I won't get into here at this time.

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CHANGE OF SUBJECT. Can someone tell me why more money is spent to improve the roads in northern Steuben county than the southern part? Today's paper has an article about spending tobacco money on the county roads. 3.3 of this will go to Erwin/Lindley/Jasper. The rest goes to Bath, Hornell,etc. Guess we know where the political clout is.
Can anyone remember how long the road construction sign for ? miles has been at the end of Church Creek. Oh well, guess Rome wasn't built in a day-either,but I do know that driving on County roads in northern Steuben and adjoining counties is like driving the German Autoban compared to what we have.

8:28 PM  
Anonymous cj said...

In answer to Kathy B, I got my figures right from the current budget. The board knew they had to have another hire before JAn. they were just trying to save $ on runaway health costs. That is all.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The decision to hire another highway worker is the greatest news I have heard. I wonder how they even do the winter work they do with 4 men... they put in many hours of plowing the back roads without sleep, getting ready for your children and grandchildren to be bused to school early in the mornings after a snow fall, blowing drifts or ice storms....How many of you can say you have ever walked up to any of them and said "Thank You.. Great Job" I would say it is very few of you! Maybe you should call Dick and tell him you appreciate his dedication and hard work to the town of Lindley ??? He runs a good crew of dedicated men.. they are like a family. They CARE!! How many highway supervisors would personally plow all night on Christmas Eve or Christmas, when he is sick, when his family needs him at home, etc? This is one of the BEST and you better be thankful for his personality, as he treats everyone equal.. he is a wonderful caring person.
Keep in mind folks... they don't make 'em like Dick and his highway boys anymore!!!!

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Sallyann said...

cj:

When the town’s leadership establishes a pattern of hostility and sabotage that results in a contentious relationship between the Board and the Highway Department, the idea the Board was “just” trying to save money on healthcare cost was never trusted.

It was perceived that the action proposed by the Board was just more of the same “out to get the Highway Department” agenda that’s been in play for the last eight years.

A consequence of this long term breakdown resulted in a missed opportunity for the Board and the Highway Department to come together in a negotiating climate based on trust and integrity to resolve the hiring of a new employee to fill the vacancy left by Ronnie’s untimely death.

A solution that worked for the town and the Highway Department was in front of them from the beginning, but the “us verses them” mentality prevented the Board from recognizing it.

This is what happens when leadership creates an antagonistic environment in which the Board must operate. Dialogue breaks down and the means to resolve difficult issues disappears because the negotiation table turns into a battleground.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A fact of life is that there are always people who know more about how to run your life or your business than you do. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of this in regard to how the Highway Dept.is operated lately.
Government is a complicated business these days and more strings attached each day to the people who work in it. So as Mother Wisdom used to say-don't judge until you have walked a mile in their shoes.

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good deal on hiring a new town crew member. I hope when Sally wins the town supervisors job she starts a new era of trust and mutual respect between all town departments.

6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hear hear because i think her opponent is one of the good ole boys on the town board that has been a problem for a long time. it is time for a change.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous kathyb said...

CJ - thanks for the clarification. As that information is not readily available at the Town Hall, I did not have the data to sort out your figure.

The perception around town is that the Board was trying to take advantage of a tragedy, instead of working the problem and finding the right solution.

When the governing body chooses only to look at one side of an issue and not the other, how can we, the taxpayers, be sure that they are making the right decisions for the right reasons.

To anonymous- I agree, everyone should walk a mile in the other side's shoes before making judgments, but this issue was not a complicated government matter- it just needed an open mind and a desire to find the best solution.

I felt the townspeople addressed the issue calmly and appropriately at the Board meeting, but wonder what the outcome would have been, had we not done the Board's homework for them.

The only Baord member that apparently did any homework was Paul Mortzheim- thanks Paul for your efforts.

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sally, I would like to the opportunity to thank several gentlemen who know how to share the road. I have bee regularly walking my new puppy for training and Dennis Smith and Brad Drake always slow down even though we are off the road. Everyone else just flys by with little regard for the pedestrians. Thanks guys, your consideration is appreciated. You know who I am.

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with hear, hear. Too long this town has lived under the reins of a certain group of good ole boys who had their own agenda.

If the Supervisor was so certain that not hiring someone would save the town money-where were his figures? It seems the highway workers and the people who use the highways were being penalized so he could say-"I saved the town all this money at your expense." Is this serving the best interests of the people who live here and pay the taxes.
Tickles me to think that all the present town board members live on County roads and only use the town roads when necessary. True, those who live on dirt roads may or may not be there by choice. What our County Road Residents seem to forget is that the "dirt" road people also pay their fair share of County taxes so these people can live on a paved highway.
.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Tammy said...

Ive been reading the comments on this blog about the issue of hiring another worker for the highway deptartment all along and I have to say I was not going to leave ANY comment on the subject because I wanted to see if the town would see the facts and clear things up on their own without any of my input. I dont live in Lindley anymore so I dont feel I really have the right to voice my opinion on any issues. However, the rest of my family does still live in Lindley. My parents, my brothers, my son and nieces...along with several friends and relatives. As difficult as it was to remain silent, I think everything seems to have worked out now, for the good. I cant express how nice it was to read and see the people speak out about this issue.
For those who dont know me...I am Dick's Daughter, Tammy. I grew up in Lindley. I rode the buses ( Harolds to be exact) I drove the roads, and Ive seen my dad dedicate alot of time and effort into your town since I was very little. Although most seem to already know this, and Im very grateful to them, there are still some who dont. When I speak of the Highway Dept. and the dedication thats associated with them I speak of ALL the crew. Not just my Dad. Growing up, one thing that comes to mind were all the Christmas's my brothers and I would wake up early ready to rip into presents only to find our Dad had been out all night on the roads and wasnt home yet. We would wait sometimes what seemed like forever to get into the christmas stuff cause rule was: we open and celebrate as a family. If Dads not here, only open one until he gets here. So we would wait. Finally, dad would come home long enough to see us open presents then back down the road he would go. The point I am trying to make is everything takes a back seat to these men sometimes for the town. Unfortunatley, alot of times its the family that sits back so they can do their job. Their family waits and hopes that they arent over a bank somewhere, or that nothing terrible will happen to them while they are gone. While trying to make the roads safe for everyone else. All along, we would be home worrying about our Dad. The phone would constantly ring with someone wanting to know why their road wasnt done yet and sometimes getting really nasty with my mom. She usually answered it when it rang cause we knew if Dad was out most calls would be town related. The phone calls arent as bad as they used to be but the family still worries during bad weather conditions when they guys are out and gone long hours. We were sitting at home safe and warm with full bellies and well rested not knowing when dad would feel the same. We knew it was his job and we knew he loved it. The town guys become family away from family. They keep track of eachother and are there for eachother. I can tell you, my father is a good man. He thinks alot of Lindley and everyone in it. Always has...always will. He will always try to do the right thing. So far, I think he has done a pretty good job. Im proud of him and his crew and think the majority of the town is too. Thanks for all that input folks...I know it was appreciated. Oh, and one last thing. I mentioned I rode Harold's bus all through school. I dont EVER recall a time on the bus I felt scared due to the roads. I knew I had a good bus driver and I knew my dad was in charge of the roads. I knew my Dads crew had been out all night sanding and plowing and if the roads werent good, the buses wouldnt be running. I guess I had alot of reasons to feel safe and always did feel that way. Thanks again for all the comments. I think they really helped in the making of a sensible solution for everyone.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Not a Rocket Scientist said...

Regarding highway worker pay scale differential. Am surprised that the obvious wasn't more obvious to more people sooner -seeing as how the trend in the work force today is to get rid of the high pay scale employee and replace him with someone in a lower payscale bracket. Glad someone finally used their brains or a calculator.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been reading through some very interesting comments. But if I could play the devils advocate for just a moment...should state that I no longer live in Lindley, but would if I had the chance to live in NY again. That being said, I don't believe most Lindley residents realize the taxes in Lindley aren't much different than other rural town in your area. Don't believe me, visit a real estate agent & compare the taxes on equal value housing - very little differences. (I did when I was considering relocation..a local real estate agent gave me the info) Now for the highway department - they do a fine job clearing the roads & keeping people safe. But I would question the ability to build & maintain dirt roads. Why do people think throwing oil& stone on the road will raise taxes? Why not contract out the road building & leave the highway department to the maintenance of the roads? Think of the money that the town would save in equipment, upkeep of the equipment, building, and the crew would be free to do real maintenance - not just patch jobs. Also, why is the town road super position an elected official? Would it not make more sense to have it an appointed position & then they would be accountable to the board - based on their job performance. Why doesn't the town start applying for money to upgrade the roads? I have pondered these questions, maybe someone could clarify for me.

12:44 AM  

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