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End free parking for public employees

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Published March 22, 2009

Tucked away in Sunday's Vindicator (Page B3) is a story out of Columbus with this headline: "Review finds that state spends more than $1M in free parking." The story spotlights the extent to which many public sector employees are pampered. Working for government and other entities means never having to say no — to exorbitant salaries, benefits, pensions and things like free parking.

It is pertinent that Sunday night on CBS' 60 Minutes, President Barack Obama advised Wall Street types who see nothing wrong in grabbing huge bonuses to leave New York and visit Main Street America. His message was clear: There is a disconnect between the high flyers of Wall Street and the common folk who are struggling to make ends meet.

That's why free parking for public employees is such a bitter pill to swallow for those in the private sector who have to pay for parking. At a time of tight budgets across the board, perks must be the first things that go.

Every public employee on the local, state and national levels who gets free parking should be made to pay — as a sign of solidarity with those who work for nothing more than their salaries.

By the way, the story out of Columbus was written by Mark Niquette of the Columbus Dispatch. Niquette is a former political reporter for The Vindicator. He's quite familiar with the excesses of government — in the Mahoning Valley, to be sure.




1commoncents(53 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

In the whole scheme of things, Bertram, you have really found an excess worthy of exposure! I'm still waiting for you or someone to actually identify and tackle REAL issues that have meaningful impact. The issue of paid vs, free parking has nothing to do with private vs. public sector "perks"... rather, it is about location. Businesses and government offices in the suburbs have free parking; both sectors in downtown areas have to pay. You need to be careful what you wish for... would you like to see more businesses and government operations move to the suburbs?

By the way, what local government employees have free parking anywhere here in the Valley? If you are upset about "the excesses of government — in the Mahoning Valley," why don't you at least find a valid example?

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2saddad(647 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

While I understand that the state and counties dont pay their accountants what the private sector does. And I understand that attorneys working for the government dont make anything close to those in private practice. So I understand why a little parking thrown in might be justified. However, I have always wondered why a newspaper would pay a salary to someone who so detests the valley he works in and can be so consistantly negative and inane.

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3tylersclark(182 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

I think when one is looking through the budget line by line, this is one of those places that seems natural to cut back. It's a nice-to-have, but given the city's budget situation, it's a no-brainer.

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4NoBS(2390 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Most likely, that free parking can't be just arbitrarily taken away, no matter how much it might make deSouza feel like a vengeful God, smiting the unworthy. As has been pointed out above, that free parking is a perk given in lieu of the much higher wages enjoyed in the private sector. And it's probably a negotiated item for those who have contracts. It's a part of the pay package. If you take it away, be prepared to compensate the workers accordingly.

This is yet one more case where the author whines "I don't get that, so nobody else should, either!"

There are real issues that need addressing. Too bad nobody can see what they are. Honestly, with all that's going on locally, the best subject he can come up with is complaining about a perk some public servants get IN COLUMBUS?!?!

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5apollo(1227 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Bertram is correct and the perks issue is relevant to the valley since ridiculous public sector perks are the norm here. When the public sector jobs are the highest paid and the most stable, then having such idiotic perks is unnecessary.

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