Sunday, June 1, 2014

My open letter to Gov. Christie

In the spirit of fellow educator, and journalist, Melissa Harris Perry, I bring you my version of her open letters to leaders:

Dear Governor Christie,

It's me, Marie. I heard you recently gave your staff huge raises. That's fantastic! I'm sure they worked very hard to help get you re-elected, and are very deserving. And now that they are back on the public payroll, you can reward them on the taxpayers' dime. Just curious... who did their job when they were on hiatus, and how much were they paid?

Believe me, I completely agree with you that, "People who take on more responsibility deserve more pay." With the new evaluation system and standardized testing regime now in place, educators across the state are completely overwhelmed with all the additional work but, unlike your staff, our take home pay is shrinking. 

I even congratulate you for actually shrinking your overall payroll because after all, why should taxpayers pay exorbitant salaries of—as you call some of us—"greedy" and "selfish" public employees (even though what you said in this video is factually wrong in so many ways)? But here's my problem: you did an excellent job of laying off tens of thousands of tax payers—educators, police officers, firefighters, first responders, office workers and others—who help keep the state running, all in the name of 'shared sacrifice', but I'm having a wee bit of difficulty understanding why your staff got such huge raises. I mean, while tens of thousands of taxpayers are seeing their take home pay shrink and their workload dramatically increase, six of your staff got raises over 40%, one of whom got a 50% raise! How is that 'shared sacrifice'? How could you excoriate public employees for their alleged largess when your staff is getting the biggest raises of any state workers—by a huge margin? And at least for public educators, the average salary increase for contracts settled since January 2011 is less than 2.2%.

Are you starting to see how some people have a problem with this?

So, while you're busy giving huge tax breaks to big corporations to lure their business to New Jersey because it's such a great place to live and work, remember that part of the reason is that tax-paying public employees make it that way. 

Oh, and next time you point your finger at someone, remember there are always three pointing back at you.


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