A major issue in the Thomas Valva death investigation involves minimum caseload standards [“Backing for bill named after Valva,” News, Feb. 27]. The legislature, in adopting the annual budget, should establish caseload standards for all service departments. This was the original intent of the county charter written and adopted by the electorate in 1959. Budgets were presented to the legislature with workload statistics and functional staffing assignments. Department heads were required to abide by the staffing assignments. Changes had to be approved by the county executive and the legislature. With the establishment of the various tax cap laws, workload standards and statistics were gradually abandoned.
Adequate staffing exists in both the county executive’s budget office and the legislature’s budget review to reestablish minimum workload standards for not only social services and Child Protective Services but also for other service departments. Such standards would be useful in public safety departments where the majority of property taxes are spent. Once minimum standards are established, there would be greater communications and understanding between both branches as well as departmental officials charged with providing services. Comparisons could be made with other governments to determine the efficiencies and effectiveness of taxpayers dollars.
Discussing school choice, too
In your article on Rep. Kathleen Rice’s town hall meeting [“Hot topics at Rice’s town hall,” News, Feb. 23], what amazes me most is that a key issue many Democratic voters, especially minority voters, want is school choice, and this seems to be never discussed. Most voters have no idea some Democrats are stopping parental school choice, which most Republicans support. Most voters also have no idea why Democrats, supposedly the party of the poor, oppose school choice. I say it’s their fear of public school teacher unions, which want to keep their monopoly. School choice, funded at levels below the cost per public school student, would be a win for students since choice leads to competition, and that pressures public schools to improve or lose students to private schools. And state taxpayers win because funding private schools would cost far less than public schools, and these savings could be split among the public schools, getting more money per student, and state taxpayers.
Frank J. Russo Jr.,
Editor’s note: The writer is president of the Port Washington Educational Assembly.