The editorial you wrote several weeks ago mentioning the $280,000 severance pay of a state employee seems to be an outrageous sum of money. Your comment that all state employees should lose their severance pay is not a solution to the problem. First, all severance pay is based directly on hourly salary. Many highly paid supervisory positions still exist in Columbus while many other positions of several kinds have been eliminated, re-classified or combined at the institutional level, such as positions at Ohio facilities.
Sick leave is paid out at 55 percent, not 100 percent, upon retirement. A reasonable solution might be to put a cap on how much severance pay can be paid out after negotiation with various unions. There already is a limit of approximately 500 hours that can be accumulated as vacation leave. The answer is not to eliminate severance pay.
Also, remember there are many "double dippers" who are state legislators and only a very few who have offered not to accept their latest pay raise. Merit pay for all legislators - state and federal - based on how much legislation can be passed might be a good idea.
It is easy to say "no" to everything, even when money might be available. When money is not readily available locally, it would seem inappropriate to say "yes" to building a new courthouse. What about considering the possibility of utilizing space in the former Lasalle's or bank buildings across the street from the former courthouse for courtroom space? It would seem the cost of landscaping the former courthouse area, which is estimated to be $10,000, is too much money for a temporary solution to this open area. What about enlisting the help of Tiffin Tree Commission, local service clubs and other volunteers? The money saved could be put to better use. The county could purchase the raw materials and volunteers could do the planting.
In the long run, providing appropriate services to community members is a good investment and insures less domestic violence incidents, better educated students and fewer homeless individuals, and helps keep families together. Isn't that what a community does - tries to help each other and thereby reduces the need for more costly long-term services? Maybe that's why Canada has such a substantially lower crime rate than the United States. Volunteers can help provide a limited amount of services, but so can a government which provides responsible and appropriate services to people. Cutting community mental health services by 30 percent (from a previous state of Ohio administration) does not meet that end. The latest news says some of the funding to National Alliance for Mental Illness will be cut; it doesn't require much funding as it is, since (NAMI is) mostly volunteers. That is definitely cause for concern.
Government can thrive by compromise and transparency, but everyone should be informed not just by radio or television but by direct contact with their local council persons. It seems there is a tendency to frequently pass at least some legislation locally by a suspension of the rules due to emergency. One might ask if that is being transparent. At the state level, a website containing current information about federal grant money was taken down. We need to use money wisely to help people in the U.S. become self-sufficient and independent - not by sending foreign aid money and jobs to foreign countries which violate their citizens' human rights. Also, I am not sure why Ohio was entertaining the possibility of charging disabled persons for services from the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation when the source of their money is coming from the federal government.
Helping citizens with their problems is the humane thing to do. It also makes good economic sense. We can do better.
Robert Holzhauser, Tiffin