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Opinion

Frank J. Russo Jr. writes that a median salary of $77,000 is "excessive" for Port teachers whose "productivity is extremely poor"; although, they do have the consolation of practicing a "noble profession." Curiously, he believes that these noble practitioner's achieve their ends by "retaliating against...children" and intimidating neighbors.

I have a revelation for you, sir. Teachers pay taxes, too. If you want to compare figures, I volunteer that my wife and I pay over $5,000 per year on our house assessed at $5,000. I wonder what it is like to live in a neighborhood where houses are assessed at $10,000 but I cannot afford to find out.

You call us disingenuous, sir, but I challenge you to show that you or any business or professional person is willing to work for less than he or she is worth. When I pay my AT&T bill, I do not denigrate the productivity of the executives of that company. I do not suggest that newcomers to the field of telephony receive a lower compensation than those who preceded them. But then I guess, I just do not have the public good at heart as you do.

Seriously, Mr. Russo, do you think that the general public is unaware that talented young people today start work in business and the professions at higher salaries than Port teachers earn with years of experience? It took me over 20 years to earn what my best friend's daughter is making as a first-year trainee on Wall Street. Are we not all taxpayers, rate payers, bill payers? What is special about public employees' salaries that they should be subjected to false economies and slanderous attacks?

Mr. Russo, who is greedy? Is it the professional who asks for a commensurate salary or he who wears the mantle of the taxpayer to demand less pay for superior professional performance?

Martin R. Hamburger




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