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Constituents favored retaining employees PDF Print E-mail

Letter to the Editor:

I do not usually respond to letters to the editor in the newspaper as those letters are opinions, based mostly on feelings usually lacking factual support.

There was a recent letter published from Mr. Charlie Gullan that illustrates that point. I respect Mr. Gullan’s opinion and his right to give it, but he promotes significant inaccuracies that I am responding to.

As a member of the Vilas County Board of Supervisors, I voted in favor of retaining the 11.25 jobs Mr. Gullan states were “jobs that they found were not necessary.” I suspect this was a “feeling” of Mr. Gullan.

I was never part of any conversation or meeting that classified these jobs as not necessary. Included in the proposed 11.25 job reduction was the janitorial staff. Does Mr. Gullan think we would never clean any of the county facilities again?

The county board looked to reduce the 2013 budget by outsourcing some services, and combining and/or eliminating some services, hence the 11.25-job reduction proposal. I am willing to look at those proposals, but I need to know the cost of that outsourcing, what services will be provided for that cost compared to what we have and what services can be combined or eliminated in relation to what we are required to provide, and how that impacts the services the public expects the county to provide. I did not have that information at the budget hearing and I am not willing to just wing it without a plan.

I am confident we will begin that process much earlier in preparation for the 2014 budget. During that process, we may also see job reduction through attrition and voluntary separation.

Mr. Gullan has a “feeling” that the hard working citizens of Vilas County are everyone but county employees, as he refers to them as people doing nothing productive, jobs that were not necessary, people being paid to be idle, people we need to find something to do.

I know there are many hard working citizens in Vilas County in many occupations and businesses, but that also includes county employees. The county employees I know are dedicated individuals who work hard at their jobs and take pride in the service and expertise they provide to the public. In return, the county pays a respectable wage for our area and a good benefit package, which the employees contribute to, but it is not the cadillac plan Mr. Gullan feels it is. Many county employees also work two jobs to make ends meet.

Mr. Gullan feels all the citizens of Vilas County see it the same way he does and the 13 supervisors who voted to retain the 11.25 positions did not represent the citizens of Vilas County. Many may feel the same as Mr. Gullan, but the reality is the input I received from constituents was overwhelming in favor of retaining those positions, rather than eliminating them at this time.

And yes, Mr. Gullan, county employees who live, vote and pay taxes in Vilas County are also constituents. We all belong to some “special interest group” whether it be a large, loosely connected group or a smaller focused group. As a county board supervisor, my special interest group is the taxpayers of Vilas County and I try to base my decisions with that group in mind.

Eliminating positions and services without knowing the full consequences did not strike me as the best way to proceed. I am not above criticism and welcome constructive criticism. I appreciate Mr. Gullan’s positive suggestions and will take those into consideration.

Gary Peske

Vilas County Board


St Germain

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 4:44 PM

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