by Dave Baker, Guest Columnist
Did the Clovis Police Department need the raise it received? You better believe it did. Did officers deserve that raise? Of course, without a doubt! Clovis police do an excellent job every day for the citizens they protect and serve.
With this concept of “needing” and “deserving,” what happened to the fire department? I feel that Clovis is lucky to have one of the best fire departments in the state. Firefighters definitely need and deserve a raise.
Clovis also has excellent workers in the wastewater, sanitation, street, traffic, shop, landfill and other departments.
Why were all these important and deserving individuals relegated to second-class employees? Why did our city commissioners show contempt for them by ignoring them and not addressing their concerns about inadequate pay?
Mayor David Lansford said, “If one child needs $50,000 for medical bills, then surely the other children would not expect $50,000 for themselves.”
If I have four children and can’t feed them all steak, I’m going to feed them all hamburger. This makes much more sense than feeding three children bread and making them watch the other child eat prime rib.
The six commissioners who voted for the police department’s pay raise and the mayor need to spend time with the other city employees to see what their work day is like.
They should get up at 2 a.m., when it is 10 degrees outside, and travel with wastewater employees through city alleys to unclog sewer lines for Clovis citizens.
They should go with the street department on Christmas eve or on Christmas Day while they sand, salt, and clean the streets so citizens of Clovis can spend Christmas with their families.
They should try to fill potholes while people drive by and see how close they, can get without running over you or go out at 3 a.m. to barricade flood areas because people still try to drive through deep water.
They should help sanitation workers try to keep alleys clean, so people can continue to throw trash everywhere but into the dumpsters; visit the repair shop and join the mechanics as they crawl around, under and inside trash trucks, not knowing what might cut them or drip into their faces.
The welders would enjoy commissioners’ help as they work on these same trucks and replace the bottoms of dumpsters that have rotted out from chemicals, grass, and other unimaginable wastes.
Commissioners should ride with the Clovis Area Transit System (CATS) and workers from the older adults department to see how well they transport, feed and care for the senior citizens of Clovis.
They can feel free to help park maintenance workers pick up trash and clean the parks daily. We constantly pick up syringes, needles, dirty diapers, used condoms and bloody bandages from the sports fields. We also try to keep clean the public restrooms that often look like someone locked in a herd of farm animals. We are also continually painting the restroom walls, which are written on or graffitied nightly by persons of unmentionable character advertising themselves or someone else.
City employees have always been underpaid, but they all work together, and they will continue to do so. The police and fire departments do excellent jobs, but so do the other employees of the city.
We choose not to let the actions of six commissioners split the employees up by doing major surgery on one of the wounds and not even caring enough to put a Band-Aid on the other ones.
I can’t understand why they chose this action, knowing that it might divide the employees and destroy their morale. I can only speculate what their motives were, but I know they need to finish what they started. They need to give decent wages to all city employees now. They deserve it now, not maybe in the next budget year.
In the past 15 years, I have heard many commissioners say, “If we want or need this, we will find the money.” Everyone knows the money is there. It’s time to use it for the rest of the city’s employees. They deserve it and they need it.
Dave Baker is assistant park superintendent for the city of Clovis. Contact him at 760-2753 or 763-4729.