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Reader's view: Public employees work hard and provide valued services

As a retired public employee, I took issue with comments at the end of the Feb. 10 letter, "Lots of welfare foes get government help." It stated, "If you are employed in the government sector, you should remind yourself that your salary, pension ...

As a retired public employee, I took issue with comments at the end of the Feb. 10 letter, "Lots of welfare foes get government help." It stated, "If you are employed in the government sector, you should remind yourself that your salary, pension and benefits are all funded by taxpayers who work just as hard as you, but most for less money. You are public servants and should act that way."

Act what way? I was never a "servant," only an employee.

I worked long hours, nights, Saturdays and Sundays for much less pay than I would have received in the private sector.

Public pensions are funded by a combination of employer contributions, employee contributions and return on investment. The Minnesota Public Employees Retirement Association says that "over the last 20 years, taxpayers (through employer contributions) have paid only 17 cents on the dollar of the total revenues of the three statewide pension systems. Deductions from our members' paychecks made up 14 percent of pension plan income, and the return on the investment of those contributions has been responsible for 69 percent of our total revenues," according to the Public Employees Retirement Association of Minnesota.

Perhaps people who impugn public employees and the associated costs should remember all the services they provide: snow removal, road repair, fire and police, libraries, parks and trails. We are lucky to have high-quality teachers in our universities and employees who work on projects like disease eradication. There are many more examples of public employees doing good work to add to Minnesotans' quality of life.

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I'm grateful to the many people I helped in my career who knew the value and worth of my work.

Catherine Glick

Columbus, Minn.

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