by Linda Moore
Let the County Commission vs. the Bradley County Sheriff's Department wars begin anew. Let the reason be duly noted as the never ending, "More Money", mantra that is chanted by all facets of government. I've been reading the newspaper wars. Did y'all know that the cost of one badge for an officer is reputed as being FIFTY DOLLARS! I sure hope it's made in the USA. The price seems a mite steep to me. But the real source of contention is not new badges; the request that the county make up the difference for any Workman's Comp short-fallings is the real source of contention. Brace yourself for a workman's comp lesson.
Workman's comp is based on federal guidelines. And then our own state's guidelines which adheres to the federal guidelines. Workman's Comp is an insurance that YOU, the tax payer, pay for all county employees. You also pay medical insurance for all employees. What you, (tax payers), are paying for Workman's Comp insurance per year is roughly 300.000.00 dollars. The guidelines stipulate that an employee bring home 66 and 2/3 of their gross income. This is NON TAXED income which means that they would be bringing home their net pay give or take some dollars. The county goes one step better and bigger than our federal/state stipulations and gives to any county employee injured, two weeks pay, that you the tax payer, actually, so generously give. Your company is not so generous; I'm sure.
If the county opted to make up for any short fallings from worker's comp for our county employees your taxes would rise considerably. There is no way that the county could play favorites and deem it for just one facet of government. It would be quite simply, employee discrimination. I don't have any desire for Bradley County to be a national leader and usurp the federal/state guidelines. Healthcare and insurance costs are killing us all. There are many hard working folks in Bradley and Cleveland that are paying for healthcare and workman's comp insurance for others when they have no insurance and are forced to live on hope. I'm O.K. with that. Let's take care of our employees but let's please consider every citizen that pays taxes in the process. I am against a tax increase in this venue. We already pay workman's comp insurance; we adhere to federal/state guidelines, so be it.
However, I have a solution. I know for a fact that there is an NPO, (Non Profit Organization), that solicits funds for victims of crimes. I think that someone affiliated with law enforcement might ought to start an NPO to solicit funds for injured officers or for the families of officers killed, (God Forbid), in the line of duty. PROBLEM SOLVED without another insurance tax increase.
Did you know that we no longer have a county hospital? This means that anyone going to the ER can be turned away if their injury is deemed non emergency. I remember this happening at a hospital in Phoenix. A twelve year old girl was turned away from a Mesa hospital. It was deemed as a non emergency and the hospital was in it's legal rights. She died that night. We have many folks earning up to thirteen dollars an hour that can't possibly afford insurance. They are skilled labor but health care costs are so very expensive; insurance can be so very expensive, that they just can't afford it.
But do you honestly think that if an illegal immigrant went to the ER that they would be turned away regardless of emergency status? No hospital would risk a discrimination law suit. Yes, they would be seen. That folks, is called preferential treatment. Again, I cordially invite you to go take a gander in our local health department. You're paying for all the shots. You're paying for all the milk, eggs and cheese. You're buying all the infant formula. You own it. It's yours. Go look around.
And all of this brings me back to my original topic. Insurance and healthcare. Instead of throwing a Band-Aid on a growing health care crisis by throwing more money into an insurance pot by asking tax payers to pay more and more and more. Why don't we do this instead, we ask our County Commissioners, we ask our City Councilman to enact ordinances and measures that will make it far more difficult to hire or provide housing for illegal immigrants.
Then we go to our Sheriff and ask him to make like Sheriff Joe Arpaio and use every law in his power and to the best of his abilities do something to help combat illegal immigrants being in our area. I do not fault immigrants. I fault our government for NOT FOLLOWING IT'S OWN LAWS. And I want my local government to act like other city and county governments all across America and take up for "WE", the legal residents.
We could absolutely reduce some tax payer health costs in this area if our elected officials would do this. And then..... maybe all of us could have more affordable insurance. What do you think? Do you think we should usurp federal and state guidelines and pay more? Do you think that we should or shouldn't demand that our officials reduce some root causes for American problems? No matter which side of the aisle you're on; it's your call. You should call your elected leaders and tell them what you want to do. I'm of the opinion that we should get to the root of some problems and not play the wet Band-Aid tax dollar game.
I wish you all a Merry and Blessed Christmas. I think it would be a grand gesture for any of you reading to send Mr. Bill Coultry, the officer injured in the line of duty, a Christmas Card letting him know that you appreciate him. Perhaps you would like to include a small gift. Perhaps you would like to take him some Christmas sweets. I am sure that he would appreciate any show of appreciation.