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ETSU custodians, annexation and more in Tuesday's Forum

Staff Report • Oct 15, 2013 at 9:52 AM

I moved to the Tri-Cities area about one year ago from Memphis, where my neighborhood, Cordova, was annexed one month before I left. The outcry was great. We had no warning, no rights and no representation. The city just took over with no thought for what the people wanted and taxed the citizens for the entire 2012 year, despite the fact that we had no services during that time. I find myself, once again, in a neighborhood that is facing annexation without a choice or vote. The citizens should have the right to say “yes” or “no.” Governments are meant to serve the people. If the government thinks annexation is the best route for its citizens, then let them prove it by providing evidence and then allowing the citizens to vote. “Forty-seven other states provide their residents autonomy over the destiny of their property by allowing them to vote,” says William Haupt III, the founder of Tennesseans Against Forced Annexation.Tennessee needs to become the 48th state. Give Tennesseans the right to choose where they want to live instead of forcing them. LINDSAY COGGINGrayETSU custodiansThe article concerning the outsourcing of custodians at East Tennessee State University to a private contractor was very disconcerting. The custodians make $7.66 an hour for working 37.5 hours a week and they make the same amount of money no matter how long they have worked there. After normal deductions are taken out of the paycheck, custodians are left with $600 to pay their bills with nothing left over for savings.What do they do to earn the $7.66 hourly pay? They mop, strip and wax the floors. They sanitize bathrooms, clean the toilets, scrub the floors and fill the soap and towel dispensers. They clean the carpets and buff the halls. They submit work orders for repairs that are needed to keep our buildings safe.The ages of custodians range from 20 to 70. If these people are let go, or are hired by the contractors, they will lose all the benefits they have earned while working here, including their annual leave, retirement fund and medical/dental insurance. Some will have only their Social Security left to live on.According to a letter from David Collins, vice president for finance and administration at ETSU, the university will keep those custodians getting ready to retire on the payroll if the contractor reimburses them. Will they? I think not.Let the university know that you don’t want the custodians or anyone else outsourced. Write or call Collins, ETSU President Brian Noland and Bill Rasnick, associate vice president for facilities at ETSU, and let them know how you feel.LAURA MORINCustodianEast Tennessee State UniversityGo get a jobI believe we have made those on welfare far too comfortable. You can make just as much money drawing unemployment for 18 months as you would a minimum wage job. Why would anyone want to go out and look for work when they can sit on their couch at home and receive the same payment? People receiving food stamps eat the same food as someone working their butt off every day to provide for their family. They should be allotted a certain amount of these delicacies a month, but other than that receive rice and water to push them to want to look for work. They are given decent housing, often right next to their friends. The government housing should be given weekly inspections of neatness and order. If they want their space they can get a job. If you are receiving government assistance of any kind, you should be subject to regular drug testing. It is required of most people receiving their money through their job.Government money should be used to help people out of a rut, while pushing them to look for work and better themselves, not become comfortable for years on our working wages. No one in their right mind would want to have to go out and work when they can sit at home and comfortably live off those that do. HANNAH JONESGray

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