Part-time town justice doesn’t merit health care

In the May 14 News, there was an article stating that Aurora Town Justice Jeffrey Markello and Town Supervisor Jolene Jeffe would not have their health benefits extended after this year. The article stated that Markello is paid about $30,000 as town justice, which is a part-time position. He is also self-employed with his own private law practice. Markello cited a list of reasons why elected part-time officials like himself deserve health benefits that are not extended to other part-time workers. He also stated that elected staff members do not have union protection, and that he also works extra hours and has to deal with frustrated residents.

There are so many things wrong with those statements, I don’t know where to begin. First, according to the Social Security tax records for 2011, more than 50 percent of U.S. wage earners made less than $27,000 – and that is for full-time employment. Secondly, as an elected official, I believe that he should have known what the responsibilities of the position were before seeking election. Thirdly, if union protection and health benefits are really what he wants, then perhaps he should give up his part-time job and take civil service exams so he could perhaps get hired and become a union member. By doing so, he would get compensated for his extra hours and negotiate his health care with the rest of the union members. One word sums up Markello and his whole attitude: elitist.

Kenneth C. Pitman