Take time to thank government workers during special week

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Since 1985, our nation has designated the first week of May as Public Service Recognition Week. This year, Public Service Recognition Week will be May 5-9. During this week, all of us should take a moment to thank the people who work in federal, state and local government. Their commitment to serve our community is vital to keeping our nation strong.

MANY PEOPLE don’t realize it, but government is the largest employer in our area. The U. S. Department of Labor says the CSRA has 46,500 government jobs. These range from scientists at Savannah River Nuclear Site to sheriff’s deputies, firefighters, civilian employees on Fort Gordon and even the employees giving us our drivers’ licenses.

For many of us, government is our employer. And we count on government employees to keep us safe, our roads clean and in good repair, and our government competent and honest.

Those employees were put to the test earlier this year when Winter Storm Pax hit us Feb. 11 with a brutal ice storm. Our city may have looked like a winter wonderland, but it felt like anything but that. With 80 percent of our area lacking power, and fallen trees and debris everywhere, we all needed help getting our lives back in order. Many of those who stepped forward in that effort were government employees – and many of them were volunteering!

ONE EXAMPLE of such volunteering was provided by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office. On- and off-duty deputies came in and, armed with chainsaws, fanned out to clear roads and bridges. They were the first of many others to demonstrate what public service means in the wake of Winter Storm Pax.

Another example of such selfless service is Augusta-Richmond County’s Employee of the Month for March, Avis Brown. Avis is a code enforcement officer for the Environmental Services Department. During storm clean-up, she worked many long hours managing a site where storm debris could be taken. In addition to answering citizen questions, handling the placement of debris and completing paperwork, she learned how to use a front-end loader so she could keep her area tidy and make it easy for trucks to get in and out without having to wait for an equipment operator. And she is just one of the countless government employees who stepped up to get our community back in order.

Why do they do this? Cynics would argue that people work for government for the benefits or job security. In reality, the research of scholars such as James L. Perry and H. G. Perry has demonstrated that most people are attracted to government jobs out of a sincere desire to serve others and make our community a better place. And that desire to serve continues to motivate them in their day-to-day chores, many of which may seem tedious or boring to us.

AND THAT’S WHY Public Service Recognition Week is important. During this week, we have a chance to say “thank you” to those who dedicate their lives to serving us in government jobs. A simple “thank you” often is all it takes to brighten someone’s day. And for those who are motivated by a desire to serve others, a “thank you” from someone you are serving is deeply appreciated.

Louis Gawthrop, in his book Public Service and Democracy, says “public service in the spirit of democracy demands an unqualified commitment to the common good. Nothing less will do; nothing more is needed.” Public employees in our area exemplify this. Let’s all remember to say “thank you” to them this week.

(The writer is a professor of public administration and director of the Master of Public Administration program and the Center for Public Service at Georgia Regents University.)

Comments (14) Add comment
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ymnbde
9571
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ymnbde 05/04/14 - 08:24 am
5
3
ahhh, about where you get your money

it's taken from the labor of others, that tree doesn't really exist
you're welcome
oh, by the way, "we're putting new coversheets on all the TPS reports before they go out now. So if you could go ahead and try to remember to do that from now on, that'd be great. All right?... oh oh! and I almost forgot ahh, I'm also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday too..."
geez

localguy55
5477
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localguy55 05/04/14 - 09:00 am
9
3
I would like to see a Holiday

I would like to see a Holiday for the individual small business owner. It would be more fitting to celebrate the achievements, hard work, and opportunities for employment individual small businesses offer the community.

As for government employees of any sort, there are good ones and then there are the useless ones. I can appreciate those government employees who work diligently at doing their job. After all, that is what they are paid for, with public money.

Then you have the hoards of useless rank and file government workers, corrupt upper management and administrators, and criminal politicians that support these people.

Trying to rid our government institutions these people is near impossible, and as such dulls any cheers for the ones trying to do the right thing.

So, I will not be celebrating Public Service Recognition Week for these reasons.

thauch12
6485
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thauch12 05/04/14 - 09:12 am
10
4
These employees get my yearly

These employees get my yearly "thank you" on or around April 15. That's about all they're getting from me.

Bizkit
30802
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Bizkit 05/04/14 - 09:29 am
9
4
And I am waiting for

And I am waiting for government employees to give me a big hug and thank you, because as a 1%er others and I are footing your income and efforts. I have a job too, but I never wrote letters to the editor nor had a special day to recognize it. Isn't that discriminatory? LOL

edcushman
7930
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edcushman 05/04/14 - 09:47 am
7
3
"Public Service" Most
Unpublished

"Public Service"
Most 'Public' servants do not consider themselves to be public servants they act as if they are doing you a favor. The Aiken post office is a good example.

Bizkit
30802
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Bizkit 05/04/14 - 10:09 am
8
3
Didn't a study show that

Didn't a study show that public servants make more than private workers doing the same job. Seems we should complain about being ripped off. as tax payers. Besides Obama also gave you a raise and raised the minimum wage for you too. Seems you got all you need why ask for praise for doing your job.

Gage Creed
16785
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Gage Creed 05/04/14 - 12:39 pm
3
3
Three letters... D M

Three letters... D M V

KSL
126832
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KSL 05/04/14 - 08:06 pm
2
2
I just read about DHS today.

I just read about DHS today. Their numbers have increased from their inception in 2002 hugely. They are interfering in matters of no concern of theirs, and it has been suggested it is because of a make work scenario to justify the increase in their numbers.

Of course obama has not ever met a government employee he doesn't like, as long as he does not "tattle" on him and his administration.

KSL
126832
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KSL 05/04/14 - 08:11 pm
2
3
Why don't we thank the public

Why don't we thank the public servive employees individually when they do their job as intended?

KSL
126832
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KSL 05/04/14 - 08:16 pm
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2
Wait, above and beyond. Why

Wait, above and beyond. Why are they due extra thanks for just doing the job they hired on for?

itsanotherday1
42228
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itsanotherday1 05/04/14 - 10:41 pm
2
0
Dittos localguy

"As for government employees of any sort, there are good ones and then there are the useless ones. I can appreciate those government employees who work diligently at doing their job. After all, that is what they are paid for, with public money.

Then you have the hoards of useless rank and file government workers, corrupt upper management and administrators, and criminal politicians that support these people."

Kudos to folks like Avis Brown, who work selflessly to get the job done; but having been involved directly and indirectly with government (state and federal) workers for 40 years, I can attest that there are a bunch of sloths employed too.

SGT49
1880
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SGT49 05/04/14 - 11:48 pm
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This is a joke, right? They

This is a joke, right? They get paid more, better medical, better pensions. Who's the servant here?

prov227
3138
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prov227 05/04/14 - 11:49 pm
2
0
Let the public employees ...

pat themselves on their back. These recognition days are getting profuse. Whose idea was this? The union or the government?

prov227
3138
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prov227 05/04/14 - 11:53 pm
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Albeit ...

that some individuals are due recognition during emergencies. The whole group of public employees did no more than their private citizen constituents.

Darby
25095
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Darby 05/05/14 - 12:36 am
2
0
My house was without power for four

days following the ice storm. During that time, I was out with my trusty chain saw, helping my neighbors get the fallen trees and limbs off their houses, cars and fences, etc.

I'm happy that some government employees were doing the same thing. They deserve an attaboy for their efforts. So do all the others doing the same thing who were NOT public servants.

As for myself, just knowing I could help is all the thanks I need. Next time it could be me with the tree across my car.

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