Letter to the Editor: Volunteerism

In response to Mr. Rony Joel’s recent article on “Volunteerism,” Bravo! With all due respect, may I suggest that the city department heads, managers and supervisors, who are making rather high salaries and receiving excellent benefits, be the first to set the example of Mr. Joel’s article? Even more impressive than donating your time, returning the four percent salary raise or at least giving one day of your salary per month to the city coffers would definitely be very much appreciated by us citizenry.

Our spend-thrift City Council also needs to step up to the plate. Instead of a councilman attacking very good people in almost weekly, overly pedantic epistles, lets appreciate that there are many intelligent people on this island. One important issue that needs to also be addressed is beach littering. Clearly, some additional signs and the presence of a few councilmen walking along the beach and picking up the litter several days per week would be a much appreciated volunteer project and could bring some very beneficial results. Other councilmen could volunteer at the police and fire departments, the new dog park, and our other parks. Also the entire council needs to listen to Councilman [Chuck] Kiester, who seems to be the only one (out of seven) that is truly concerned about the dwindling, much needed middle class, permanent closure of some restaurants and small businesses, and very serious declining property values. Yet, the council approves more hiring, burdensome taxes, and expensive projects — all not needed during these very difficult times.

We need cuts across the entire budget. Since I cannot be outdoors in the hot sun due to skin cancer, I would like to volunteer to meet with the financial manager, when I am not working, to help achieve these cuts.

We also need more open forums (in addition to Mr. Kiester’s) where people can speak out without fear of verbal attacks or any recriminations. We live in a democracy; our rights are fully protected and guaranteed by the First Amendment of our Constitution — inclusive of all the residents of Marco Island.

Finally, as the 2010 budget meeting rapidly approach, all of you in “powerful positions of questionable leadership” will be facing very close scrutiny for the aforementioned cuts. If you choose not to listen to “We the People” on this island, you will eventually be replaced.

Ms. Janet M. O’Connell

Marco Island

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