Letter to the Editor: Reader says ‘time for our local government to step up’

Published 9:03 am Saturday, January 11, 2020

Dear Editor:

Over the last ten years, your hard working local government retirees have received less than one percent in cost of living adjustment to their retirement benefits. Just think about it for a moment. If a local government retiree has an annual pension of $24,000, then he or she has earned the equivalent of $240 in adjusted increased salary over the past ten-year period! This fact is an embarrassment for our state and a reality for our retired local government employees.

Have you ever wondered or even thought about what a local government employee does? They are the men and women who make our local communities thrive by picking up our trash, providing vital water and sewer services, making our local communities and your homes are safe from crime, and administering the other essential government services that make North Carolina a great place to live. They have faithfully served you!

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Most public sector retirees have given 25-30 years of service to your community. All public sector employees contribute from their first day of government service on the job until the day they retire into their pensions. Receiving retirement pension is by no means “a gift”. Local government employees sacrificed during their careers in order to receive their own investments in retirement.

North Carolina’s public pensions have not regained fiscal strength from the “Great Recession” of the early 2000’s. Today, they continue to lag behind many systems leaving many retirees to choose between food or medicine and struggling, while our state’s economy flourishes.

Local government employees have done their part to faithfully serve their communities. Now, is the time for our local government to step up and do their part by supporting and calling for a reasonable cost of living allowance for their retired employees who have served their communities so well.

Francis D’Ambra

Retired Local Government Employee

Manteo, NC