This is a response to letters from Robert P. Volk ("It's Time for Pa. Leaders To Share in Pay-Cut Pain," June 24) and Tony Pittore ("Cut State Salaries Across the Board," June 25 Web).
I work in the state's Department of Public Welfare. My annual salary is around $40,000. DPW has experienced crippling staff cuts and drastically increased workloads. Our most recent union contracts have included a 2 1/2-year wage freeze, increased contributions to our health-care benefits, increased copays and a reduction in our employer's contribution toward our health benefits in order to save the commonwealth close to $220 million. We've been under a hiring freeze since October 2008. In the current economy, the demand for our services has never been higher.
SEIU 668 members have offered suggestions to the commonwealth that would save close to $1 billion. They have all been ignored. We've done our part to save taxpayer dollars. Technology "upgrades" by Deloitte Corp., which cost more than $500 million, can best be described as disastrous to both state employees and the needy. They have not provided better efficiency and improved customer service. Deloitte's contract was, of course, a no-bid contract. It is the subject of a state auditor general's investigation.
SEIU 668 member salaries are not wasting your tax dollars. Reduce the state Legislature. Reduce the number of management-level employees in state government since there are many less workers to manage. And trim the real fat in the state's budget. But I can assure you that SEIU 668 members who work in DPW county assistance offices are a bargain.