Letters, Camden Herald
Looking for explanation
It was discouraging to read the ad run by Five Town CSD and MSAD 28 that is seeking bids to outsource the custodial services in the district(s). While I was aware of an exploratory committee that was put together some time last spring, the motivation for outsourcing has failed to be explained in whole to the staff of which I am a part of.
Our efforts are often recognized by administrators as being beyond satisfactory, and there has been a good relationship with our union and the board(s) in regards to bargaining over wages and benefits. So why are we facing the specter of outsourcing? Feedback from the exploratory committee indicates that as few as one community member is making the push to see my co-worker’s and I unemployed.
It is understood that the districts must apply due-diligence with their budgets, but custodians are a relatively small part of the total facilities budget. Costs associated with current outside contractors have not received the same scrutiny by community members nor has a committee been formed to investigate the possibility of ‘insourcing’ some of the work.
When local school budgets are being pushed to brink the idea of putting public education money in the hands of a for-profit corporate cleaning service is dead wrong. Any short-term savings will be lost over the long haul as the ability to control costs and service are left to the mercy of the market and private enterprise. Moreover without adequate staff to ‘fall back on’ the district would lose its leverage trying to negotiate with private contractors. Whether it be custodians, bus drivers or the lunch ladies — outsourcing for our school districts is a bad use of public education dollars.
Please contact your school board members and tell them to keep your child’s custodian a public employee. Far from trying to turn a profit off education dollars, our mission is to provide clean, safe schools for your kids; and from time to time we are the familiar faces that help retrieve forgotten homework or help out with that jammed locker.
Member MBDC Association
Invest in infrastructure
During Fire Prevention Week (October 6-12), I join local water utilities throughout Maine in reminding residents about the critical but often overlooked role that local water supplies – and the systems that deliver them – play in fighting fires and protecting public safety.
A properly functioning, well-maintained water system delivers reliable supplies at a high pressure and volume that can mean the difference between a small, manageable fire and a destructive, raging inferno.
But water infrastructure — the pipes, distribution mains, wells, pumping equipment, and other components invisible to the public eye — is aging and rapidly disintegrating.
This condition is especially prevalent in New England where a number of public water systems are more than 100 years old.
To safeguard communities from the ever-present threat of fire, local communities must invest in rehabilitating, improving, and replacing their water infrastructure so that life-saving water can flow uninterrupted from a source of supply, through a network of underground pipes, to the corner hydrant.
I also encourage local communities to support the National Fire Protection Association’s campaign to prevent fires in the kitchen, the leading area of origin for home fires, by urging their residents to be more cautious and vigilant, especially when using the stove (visit nfpa.org for more information).
During Fire Prevention Week, water works professionals throughout New England applaud our region’s firefighters for their courageous, dedicated, and selfless public service.
For more information on the value of water, visit thevalueofwater.org.
Raymond J. Raposa
New England Water Works Association
Hungry hollow, now called Sleepy hollow in Appleton.
When its spring time in the hollow and the mill starts up again, the smell of logs and slab wood , a new sawdust pile begins, the mill ponds full of water, that turns the water wheel, when it’s spring time in the hollow, and the mill was no longer still, the man and his oxen pull logs across the bridge, the scoot was loaded heavy, that the logs were carried in, the sound of the running sawmill, put its solo in the air, it had its own extension, in the day that I was there, some men used pipe tobacco, and threw their cans around, us kids when we went fishing, put worms in from the ground, when its spring time in the hollow, now it’s not the same, when men worked for a dollar, to live, and not for gain, the sawmill runs no longer, now it’s just a shell, and the memory of it, in passing it will fail, the sawmill in the hollow, had its place in time, but time has passed over it, and now what do we find? All we got is time, there’s a picture of the hollow, hanging on the wall, about 1930 as the man recalls, you would see the difference, if you rode that road today, you would not see the view, that the picture betrays.