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Longboat Key Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2013 4 years ago

Letters to the Editor: Town employees have high-risk jobs


+ Town employees have high-risk jobs
Dear Editor:

I disagree with your statement in the Aug. 22 opinion article “DROP-dead Disappointment” in which you state that “ … a general employee works in an air-conditioned office his entire career.” This is not an accurate depiction of most staff in the town’s Public Works Department, who are also general employees.

Fifteen members of this department’s staff of 20 actually work outside. Their work is potentially dangerous, because they perform street maintenance activities near, or sometimes in the middle of, the road. Their daily work often requires climbing down into 15-foot deep, confined-space sewer manholes or trenches and working with heavy, rapid-moving equipment and machines. This work is performed in all kinds of weather, day and night.

Certainly, traditional high-risk professionals, such as firefighters and police officers, perform work that is difficult and dangerous. The town’s Public Work Department employees, by virtue of the work they perform on a daily basis, face similar threats to their health and lives.

These workers are generally the lowest paid of all government employees and do not receive the “high risk” pension benefits our police and fire staff are afforded.

Although our staff is not asking for enhanced benefits, they deserve the recognition of their dangerous jobs by the media and the public; something that your readers might not be aware of by reading your editorial.

Juan Florensa

Longboat Key Public Works Director

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