A holiday for the workers…Labor Day – GovLoop.com

Read the full post with comments here. Originally posted 8/27/12 at 2:15 pm.

Labor Day is next Monday, September 3.

I’ve often felt that Labor Day is kind of overshadowed by other seasonal events and holidays. Labor Day unofficially signifies…

I hope folks know that Labor Day is really a holiday for the American worker. Started in the 1880s by labor unions, the day slowly received recognition on local and state levels, and by 1894 was a federally recognized holiday to honor those who built America. Celebrations were to include “a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families.” (DoL)

You can read the history of Labor Day from the Department of Labor here.

What kind of Labor Day celebrations have you seen where you live? What do you think about a federal holiday to honor labor union workers?

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Do staffers make too much money? – GovLoop.com

Read the full post with comments here. Originally posted 8/19/12 at 10:28 pm

Some people seem to think so. I’m pretty sure articles such as this one in Thursday’s DC Examiner, one of the free area papers handed out at Metro stations, don’t do much to encourage qualified individuals to pursue careers in public service by criticizing pay.

The piece discusses the salaries of staffers of several members of the DC City Council, noting that the average salaries of council staffers is several times higher than that of the average DC worker.

Some good points defending the pay of high level staffers are made in the piece, notably that those who make the most money have advanced degrees, work more than a normal 8 hour day and have dedicated several years to their jobs.

(Note…don’t read the comments on the article. They don’t add anything!)

What are your thoughts on this piece? Have you heard these criticisms of government staff salaries in your local government?

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Pay your tax bills online! Yay! Oh…wait… – GovLoop.com

Read the full post with comments here. Originally posted 8/15/12 at 2:00 pm.

Last weekend I received my personal property tax bill from my friendly county treasurer. (Argh. Car tax!) A day later I received an e-mail reminder about it, with a link to pay online at the Arlington Customer Assistance Payment Portal (CAPP) here https://capp.arlingtonva.us/

From the site:

Sign up now! With your own CAPP profile you can:

  • Receive email reminders for bills
  • Sign up for automatic bank payments
  • View your assessment and payment history
  • Provide us with a new mailing address or other info.
  • Pay and file business taxes, renew dog licenses, and more!

To sign up online you must have a valid email address and be an Arlington County taxpayer (owners of real estate, vehicles, businesses, or licensed dogs).

I signed in, brought up my bill, and paid it. Almost painless, aside from having the car tax in the first place. I’ve mentioned before that I’m glad I live in Arlington, and this is one of the reasons. Easy access to online services. Several months ago I asked about your last non-tax interaction with your local government. Well, now I’m asking about taxes!

Does your county or city offer online bill payments or other online services and if so, do you take advantage of them? If you’re not sure, take a few minutes to go to their web sites and share what you’ve learned in the comments below.

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Have you called or used emergency services? – GovLoop.com

Read the full post with comments here. Originally posted 8/9/12 at 6:42 pm

This morning a friend of mine saw a car on fire across from his office in Alexandria, Virginia. He was so excited to call for help that he posted about it on Facebook. (He’s a big fan of local government services.)

Late last summer I was driving on a major road immediately behind a car that was T-boned as it made a turn at a traffic light. I called 911 right away and Fairfax County police arrived within about 4 minutes and three ambulances were right behind them. I wound up there for over an hour, talking to the police with other witnesses.

Thankfully, I haven’t used emergency services for myself. I’m very grateful that we have access to these first responders should they be needed. Many local jurisdictions levy fees or taxes on everyone to pay for emergency services, such as an additional dollar or two on a (land line) phone bill, or a fee for usage. Montgomery County, Maryland recently approved the Emergency Medical Transportation Insurance Reimbursement Act that will charge for county emergency ambulance services, usually paid by private insurance or Medicaid or Medicare. The fee was initiated due to the rise in demand and rise in cost of emergency services. Read all about it on the county’s web site here.

Have you ever called 911? Does your jurisdiction impose an additional fee to use emergency services?

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Where do you get your local news? – GovLoop.com

Read the full post with comments here. Originally posted 8/1/12 at 12:23 pm

When I was about 12 years old, I convinced my parents that we needed to receive both Newsday and the New York Times. The Times covered the world, but Newsday had our local Long Island news. I loved reading both, noting the quality of the written pieces in each paper.

As we’ve all heard for several years now, local papers are disappearing. Reporters are being replaced by shared news service stories. Local information and stories are being pushed to the last pages of print media and are given less and less space.

Please share your thoughts. Some questions to ponder….Have you seen changes to your local paper? Where & how do you get your local news? Do you feel a general decline in the quality of news reporting in spite of all the new media tools at our disposal?


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