They are Public Servants, Not Serfs
In response to the letter to the editor entitled “The Role of Municipal Employees” in your September 7, 2023, edition, I would offer the following: The writer says our municipal employees have a “sacred duty” to ensure “the well being and safety of the citizens they serve”. However, he goes on to write that our municipal employees “in the quest to protect municipal jobs and secure salaries and pensions there may be a risk of losing sight of the town’s greater purpose…”
In the writer’s world the term “public servant” would be changed to “public serf”.
Our employees perform some of the most difficult, self-sacrificing work every day and do it with professionalism and empathy. Who among us would willingly and without hesitation:
• Run into a building on fire to save lives and property while others are running out.
• Confront an armed felon threatening the lives of others.
• Drive a snowplow at 3:00 a.m. so that our school children can arrive safely at school.
• Provide lifesaving emergency medical treatment at a horrendous automobile accident.
• Enter an open-ended ditch in freezing temperatures to repair a broken water or sewer line.
• Politely work with a self-entitled property owner who believes the life safety code applies to everyone but him (fortunately these are few and far between)
• Venture out in extreme weather conditions to assist boaters in distress
Fairhaven’s employees do this work, day in and day out, without complaint. We should recognize their unheralded service to our community by at least paying them a fair and equitable wage because without them Fairhaven would not be the great town we all enjoy today.
However, I do agree with the writer that the solution to keeping property taxes low in Fairhaven (318th lowest average single family house tax bill out of 351 municipalities), we need to focus on economic development to broaden and expand our tax base.
Mark Rees, Fairhaven
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