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To let our representatives in Tallahassee know Florida's government employees need their retirement intact

My dear friends,

I don't know about you all, but I accepted my position with the Sheriff knowing I was never going to be rich. I gladly volunteer to work long hours, overnights, weekends, and holidays often times with a lack of sleep. It is a great career, but we have already been asked to make significant cuts. No raises for the last couple years, astronomical insurance costs that have been passed on to us, and now the hits just keep on coming...that's right a small hit that equates to a 5% pay cut. Oh did I mention that a few of us in just the matter of days have taken a bigger hit, the definitive fatal kind. Does anyone think these guys deserve fewer benefits? That is all their families have for their life’s work. That end could come to any one us on any given day, and we all know it and accept it. How many examples does there have to be?

A while back I attended a training session for supervisors in which the instructor used the principle of “do what you said you’d do the day you accepted this position.” I have always tried to live by that principle and expect that from my people. Are we getting the same in return? The Florida Retirement System (FRS) said work twenty-five years and retire. You will earn 3% per year . That was the agreement. There was nothing about “well we got this new guy in office, and he thinks that everything can run like a business.” It’s not a business. It is government where we are dealing with quality of life issues for our citizens. We don’t produce anything. There is no supply and demand or companies competing for your business. You can’t go to another government if you don’t like the services this one offers. Government salaries are typically on the low end which is made up through the benefits.

I propose we have a statewide "Turn Your Back on Governor Rick Scott" campaign. The plan will include cops, firefighters, teachers...pretty much all who are affected by Rick Scott's ridiculous idea of "securing" the Florida Retirement System. This is a system that doesn’t need securing as it ranks fourth highest in the country. Don't be fooled by his suggestion that government workers paying 5% is to add to the funding. That 5% will be to take the place of the funding he intends to take away and use somewhere else. His plan is going to do for the retirement system what the lottery did for the school system. Ask any teacher, and they'll tell you the lottery was just a different source for the same budget. What a scam!!!

We have to rally our constituents, the hourly workers, supervisors, managers, Sheriffs, Superintendents, and citizens who support our cause. We need as many people to attend all the functions Rick Scott speaks at. When he begins speaking, a large part of the audience will stand up and turn their backs to him, just like he is turning his back to the promise we were given about a secure retirement many years ago.

So if you agree, it is time to stand up and let our numbers show. According to the Orlando Sentinel, there are 3.5 million people that could be affected by the confirmed health care shyster. STAND UP AND TURN YOUR BACK ON GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT.

Thanks for listening,

Andy Heard

1. Leave the high risk percentage at 3%

2. Leave the number of years to reach collecting retirement at 25 (high risk) and 30 (standard)

3. To leave the 3% annual cost of living benefit intact

4. To leave the DROP program in place.