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Your Views: State workers all should get the same treatment
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On July 22, I read in the paper and also heard on the news that school teachers had been included in the mandatory furlough of state employees by Gov. Perdue to make up a $900 million shortfall.

Now the state teachers union feels it is unfair. If it was only teachers, then no, it would not be fair. I have a lot of respect and compassion for teachers. A lot of my relatives are and were teachers. I am a retired state employee from the Department of Corrections.

My gripe is that they are no better than any other employee when it comes down to having to do more with less. They should not have privilege or a "get out of jail free" card. When Perdue brought them into the fix, they felt betrayed and proceeded to voice their importance. (Granted they are important; so are other state employees).

Back in the '90s, Gov. Zell Miller singled out the Department of Corrections for pay freezes to make up money to be used for the Olympics. Job positions and pay were frozen, which made for low morale and extremely dangerous working conditions. The light shined on the teachers because they still received substantial pay raises and no furloughs, but no one else did, and the union considered that fair.

We even had support staff fired for speaking out about the dangerous conditions caused by staff shortages. To make matters worse, our staff was cut short again because we were support enforcement for the Olympics.

Some say that due to the teachers' education, they should not have to make a sacrifice because they mold the minds of our youth. The Department of Corrections also has a lot of college-educated staff and is trying to mold the minds and the behavior of people who slipped through the cracks, for whatever reason.

The lowdown is that all state employees are underpaid, although not all non-merit employees would agree. None of my former staff having to work a dorm of 100 inmates alone thought that was fair, either. We are all working for the state. I want more money, more benefits, etc., but no one put a gun to my head and demanded I take a state job.

I was injured on the job and my career was cut short at 23-plus years. I thank God for the job I had, fair or otherwise, because I was working on a logging and pulpwood crew prior to 1976 and my furlough days without pay were called rain or snow days. I was rescued and I am thankful.

Neil Fowler
Flowery Branch

Animal hospitals heartless in seeking funds up front
I am very upset about how animal hospitals are run in Gainesville. I would like the community to know that they care about getting paid before your sick or injured pet will even be seen.

My cat was sick Saturday. I called every veterinarian here in town and I was denied service, though they knew my cat could possibly die. All I got was "you have to pay up front before the veterinarian can see you." I even called an emergency facility and was told that it was $85 just to walk in the door, and that's not including the veterinarian, tests or medicine that may be needed.

I asked them if they would work with me on paying and all I got was "no." But they did say if I did not think my cat could wait till I got money to pay that they could go ahead and put him to sleep. That's really sad to say that to someone whose cat is need of medical attention.

So what's next? If a person can't pay a doctor bill, will they be put to sleep, too? This is sad because there are so many people out there with little or no income and they have pets and are turned away. But if animal control found out that your animal was not getting medical attention, they would put you in jail for not seeking any.

What do you do when you go seek help and no animal hospital will help? I think they need to work with patients if they can't pay, then make a payment arrangement. Some even say you can apply for credit. Well, what if you can get credit; then what?

I think all animal hospitals should not turn away any animal and just make a payment arrangement with the customer. That way all animals can be taken care of when needed.

Stacy Hicks
Gainesville

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