Letters to the Editor: Sequestration cuts, Ramsey County Sheriff’s budget

Sandy Pappas

Letter: There is room for cuts in Pentagon budget

As some of us see Labor Day as a vacation and celebration of Minnesota’s workforce, others are struggling to recover from the Great Recession. We’ve seen efforts to reduce health care and retirement benefits for workers on the grounds that there’s no money, yet there’s always money for the Pentagon and its contractor cronies. Pentagon spending actually creates fewer jobs than spending on education, health care or clean energy.

If the automatic “sequestration” cuts occur, thousands more middle class jobs could be lost. Exempting the Pentagon from these automatic reductions will mean more draconian domestic program cuts.

As a legislator, I believe we need a balanced approach to the budget. There is room to cut waste from Pentagon spending. Our national security is strengthened by investing in our best asset – people. This Labor Day, let’s ask our members of Congress to invest in America’s workforce and economy – to secure our future.

Senator Sandy Pappas, State Senate District 65

Letter: Your vote has consequences

Two years ago we were in the midst of an election campaign for the Ramsey County sheriff. During that time Matt Bostrom asked for the support of many unions. In turn, the vast majority endorsed his campaign for sheriff.

Prior to the election either Matt or I visited almost 20 of your union meetings, requesting your vote for him. A question frequently asked during those meetings was: “What does the sheriff’s race have to do with me or this union?”

Our response was that the Sheriff’s Office had consistently gone over budget during the previous 16 years, costing you more tax dollars – this at a time when many union members were sitting on the bench and struggling financially. Matt Bostrom found this unacceptable and made a public pledge to you and other taxpayers to balance the budget if elected.

Promises are easy to make, and you often never hear from them again or until the next election season. This is why I am writing now. Union members deserve a report for the faith they showed in Matt.

In March 2011 the Sheriff’s Office was reorganized to focus on core functions prescribed by state statute, providing efficient and effective services to the community and public safety partners. Through appropriate staffing, the community was kept safe as more deputies were assigned to the streets, courts, waterways and jail.

For the first time in 10 years, the Sheriff’s Office closed the year with budget savings. These budget savings would help offset an anticipated revenue shortfall. Working with the County Manager and the County Board in setting the 2013-2014 budgets, taxpayers were protected from an increase.

To continue these budget savings and create better efficiencies, employees are receiving training and performance evaluations, and innovative technology is being utilized.

Public service carries many expectations, including trust and accountability. As we look ahead, Matt Bostrom remains dedicated to guiding the transformation of the Sheriff’s Office and exceeding your expectations.

Mark P. Wiegel, Bostrom for Sheriff Campaign

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