Metropolis, IL


Editorial: A happier New Year?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016 - Updated: 10:59 AM
A job in government years ago might have been considered by many as a “cushy job.”  Certainly the county’s health insurance benefits appear to be pretty good for employees at the present time, and with around 14 paid holidays per year in addition to vacation and sick time, many people would be quite happy with that.
There are disadvantages to having a job in county government.  It is a given that if a person is an elected official, they will never be able to please 100 percent of the people all of the time. Employees of the county may be under scrutiny about how many breaks they take on the taxpayers’ dime. Or other people may claim they do not know how to do their job properly.
But, just like any job, the people who work for the county government are all like family to one another, and they are entitled to their breaks, vacation days and sick time, too.
Right now the biggest drawback to being a Massac County employee is the uncertainty of jobs and the future of the courthouse itself.  County-related news has certainly dominated the front page of this year’s Planet, and we’re sure that will continue into the New Year.
Another drawback are the conditions the employees must work in.  Granted the conditions could be a whole lot worse, but things are certainly not as ideal at the present time.  The court system moved out of the courthouse earlier this year because of mold and asbestos issues in various locations.
The plumbing and electrical systems are old and problems with the boiler system cause the building to be cold quite often. Things haven’t been smooth sailing for the employees of the court system that moved to the annex either.
But, the employees keep showing up to do their jobs.  Their faithfulness is to be commended.  So this editorial and poem is dedicated to the county government and its employees.

•  •  •

T’was the weeks before Christmas
when all through the courthouse,
a creature was stirring, but, it wasn’t a mouse.
Two basement rooms were flooded
from an old, worn-out pipe,
and no heat at the courthouse and the annex
made it hard for some frozen fingers to type.
The bricks still need tuck-pointing
and the roof needs mending,
but few excess dollars
make commissioners nervous about spending.
The department budgets are placed
on the commissioners’ desk with great fear,
with visions that county jobs getting
cut, could soon be near.
The Christmas wish list is long
and carries a hefty price tag,
but Santa sure won’t be toting
an additional 1 percent sales tax in his big, red bag.
The county’s plan for more sales tax
revenue twice fell flat,
some grinches and homemade
signs aided with that.
The windows need replacing, they’re ugly and cold,
and with all the rain seeping in
only adds  to the asbestos and mold.
Budget increases and raises employees may not see,
but they’d be grateful for lumps of coal to burn,
to help provide them some heat.
Space heaters could help warm things up
but caution must be used,
employees mustn’t overload  the old wiring
 and blow out a breaker or fuse.
The problems are overwhelming and many,
and the answers seem few,
but everyone on social media
has an opinion and seems to know what to do!
Voters decided twice  the
county doesn’t need extra money,
meanwhile two problem-filled buildings
are draining county general so fast it isn’t funny.
The second floor is like a ghost town,
but with no toilets in use, there’s
no raw sewage on the walls seeping down.
As the clock ticks, tough decisions still remain,
but Tweedle-Dee, Tweedle-Don’t and Tweedle-Do
can’t get on the same page,
to get the ball rolling again.
As maintenance problems arise,
week after week no action gets taken,
that leaves us all frustrated,
with taxpayers and employees feeling forsaken.
There is no doubt the county is in need of a Christmas
miracle to appear, whether from Old St. Nick
or the “man upstairs,”
we hope one of them can hear.
Many people love the old worn out
courthouse as it is a town fixture,
but oh how sad it becomes  the embarrassing
backdrop for thousands of tourists’ pictures.
We want to see this town, our county and community thrive,  it’s going to take everyone working together
for that to happen, and for us all to survive.
It’s supposed to be a time of giving and good cheer,
that’s why we truly wish the county and its employees
a Merry Christmas and hopefully, a happier New Year?

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