In response to Dick Mattson’s continued assault on the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) (“What’s the deal, PERS?” The Daily Astorian, April 5): Thirty years ago, when I started at the Clatsop County Road Department, retirement was the furthest thing from my mind. I came back from Alaska, working in the free enterprise market – as Mattson like to refer to it – where I was making lots of money to a job at about half the wages.

At that time, very few people wanted a county job. The economy was good and wages were higher in many other areas. What they did offer was a job back where I grew up, and good benefits.

Through many years of labor negotiations, we continuously gave up raises in hourly rate for benefits, i.e. health insurance and retirement improvements. When I was young, this was something I was not in favor of. Years later, I’m very grateful the “old guys” knew best.

What Mr. Mattson didn’t tell you is that PERS has already been adjusted in many areas. I don’t know where he gets his facts and figures, but my pension is already not near what was promised. It is true that top managers will make considerably more, but not so for the regular guy.

In today’s economy, I will hardly be enjoying the golden riches that he speaks of so frequently. And with all due respect, I have never seen him out in the middle of the night, cutting trees out of the road or plowing snow so free enterprise workers could get to their consistently higher paid jobs.

As one working guy to another, why don’t you find something else to whine about?


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