Letters and Comments for March 29, 2010

By Observer Upload March 29, 2010 01:57 pm



Not meant to offend

To the Editor:

It has been brought to my attention that I offended some with my earlier letter regarding Measures 66 and 67. Please accept my sincere apologies if you have been offended.

My statement about “State employees are getting raises” was based on information in a newsletter from Oregon Sen. Doug Whitsett dated Dec. 1, 2009, available at http://www.klamathbasincrisis.org/whitsett/newsletter/2009/oregonemployeecomp120109.htm.

Mr. Whitsett wrote:

“As a member of both the Ways and Means Committee and the Emergency Board, I have first-hand information regarding the cost of employee salaries and benefits …

“According to the DAS figures, in 2008 the average state employee was paid $47,724 in salary and $20,407 in benefits for a total compensation of $68,131. In 2009 the average state employee will be paid $48,459 in salary and $20,569 in benefits for a total of $69,028. The $897 increase in average compensation is after an average of $2,682 was subtracted for mandatory time off without pay called furlough days.

“The bottom line is that the Oregon taxpayer will pay more for receiving less service because the average Oregon state employee will earn more for working several days less in 2009 than they did in 2008.“

As a Christian, integrity, honesty and truthfulness are virtues I take very seriously and I want to thank Mr. Heinemann for graciously giving me the benefit of the doubt that my statement was not out of malicious intent, for it certainly was not. I had no reason to doubt figures from Oregon Department of Administrative Services.

A good friend, and state employee, informed me this weekend that he was taking a pay decrease, as were many others. My error was using information on “average compensation” in my letter, when indeed, others have had wages cut. Once again, to those I have offended, please forgive me.

Chris Barreto