I am a highway worker for the Maine Department of Transportation. I recently read a story in the Sun Journal regarding the discrepancy in pay and benefits between state employees and the private sector.

I don’t feel the information was fairly portrayed. It put everyone who works for the state in the same pool, from the governor to the flagger. When a flagger is put in the same pool as the governor, it looks like the flagger makes $42,000 a year – which is not the case.

You could calculate the average wages that way for any company – from the Sun Journal to Bath Iron Works to Wal-Mart – and it would not portray a true average salary. When the executives and managers are included, the people at the lower end of the scale will always appear to have a higher salary than they actually do.

I realize the story was prompted by a reader’s concern about the shortfall in the state budget. But why do people feel it’s the state employees’ fault the state is short of money?

If a comparison were done between a specific position within the state and a similar one within the private sector, the state employee’s pay would not be considered high.

You also need to take into account that state employees are penalized on their Social Security because they collect a pension from the government.

We’re taxpayers also, and people shouldn’t try to balance the budget at our expense.

Paul Cyr, Greene

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