Friday, November 10, 2006

Give Me Benefits Or Give Me Death

Kentucky state social workers are pushing for re-classification as hazardous duty employees. They say this is necessary because they risk life and limb to remove children from dangerous home environments and often face threats themselves.

At issue if whether we are just throwing money at the problem or actually trying to solve it. Adding them to the hazardous duty category only changes eligibility for a full pension from twenty seven years of service to twenty years.

Social workers are unarmed and often walk into dangerous situations without a police escort. They say that when they do have police support on a call, the officer stands behind the social worker.

Making them hazardous duty employees does nothing to alleviate the physical risks. It just pays them more for enduring the risks and pays them from a woefully insufficient pool of funds.

Wouldn't it be better for the safety of the social worker and cheaper for the state to send a police officer with every social worker who requests one and have the armed officer stand in front of the social worker at the door? It seems the officer could stay as long as a threat is perceived. Usually that wouldn't be very long.

Just seems that if I were in a very dangerous job, seven more years of pension would be small compensation for risking my life. Given a choice, I would rather see the job made more safe.

It is curious, then, that the social workers are so fired up for the seven years and won't listen to suggestions for cutting the safety risk instead.