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Stalled Contract Negotiations

October 04, 1987

I believe I am a pretty typical employee of the County of Orange, and I would like to express my feelings about the stagnated contract negotiations that have dragged on almost three months past the expiration of our old contract.

I work for the Probation Department, and I am a member of Orange County Employees Assn. I am a loyal, dedicated, hard-working public servant, who puts his heart and soul into his work. As such I feel hurt and betrayed by the top management of the county, and I am growing increasingly bitter and angry toward them.

My professionalism and sense of duty to the public have helped me keep these feelings to myself and out of my work. So far I have no interest in striking or participating in any kind of "job action" that will impact the vital service we provide to the public. Still, I am frustrated by the lack of options available to us as a bargaining unit.

The county's position has been both unbelievable and untenable. Initially, they said they didn't have enough money for raises. The only way this could be true, with such an obviously affluent tax base, was for there to be serious mismanagement at the top.

They later abandoned this position, and said the money was there, but we couldn't have it. Later they added that they would rather use the money to bring in new people than give it to those who had served them so well in the past.

Clearly the cost of living in the county is high and will continue to rise. This is largely due to the fact that many people and businesses find it to be an extremely attractive place to live, work and do business. One of the major reasons for this attractiveness is the high quality of the local government services. Being a vital link in the prosperity of the area, I feel that is is reasonable that county employees should at least be allowed to keep up with the cost of living here.

I truly enjoy living in the county. I would like very much to continue to live here as well as to continue to serve as a public servant. I feel strongly that our request to receive a raise commensurate with the cost of living is a reasonable one. Further, I feel strongly that the county's insensitive insistence toward denying us this raise is very unreasonable.

RICHARD WAGGENER

Orange

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