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Open Forum: Government workers pay their dues

I am responding to an article written last week regarding benefits for civil service employees and retirees. 

After he earned a four-year degree in forestry, my husband worked under the Federal Civil Service System with the U.S. Forest Service for nearly 30 years. Every paycheck that he received contained a deduction for both health insurance and retirement. We now receive a monthly annuity, on which we pay both federal and state taxes. He had to take a big cut in his monthly annuity so that I would be eligible for a survivor’s benefit if he should predecease me.  Our health insurance premiums last year were nearly $7,000.  Our benefits were not, and are not, free!

Government employment isn’t always a  piece of cake. Our family was transferred to new locations seven times, which meant our five children changed schools that often. My husband was often called away on details, such as fighting forest fires in the northwestern part of the country, and would be gone for weeks at a time. It wasn’t an easy life, but it was one that we chose and we certainly have no complaints.  We saw much of our beautiful country and met many wonderful people along the way.    

My letter is to dispel the idea that government employees and retirees have a free ride. We’ve paid our dues and earned our benefits.

Joyce Mohler