Thank you for pointing out that the county is paying over $700,000 in wages and benefits for workers to stay at home ("Don't Bother Coming In," Oct. 25), as supervisors continue "denying raises to minimum-wage workers."
IHSS home health care workers are the only county employees who are still paid minimum wage, and our Board of Supervisors has once again denied giving these workers an increase of even one dime. IHSS workers receive $8 an hour with no benefits, no health care and no expenses, not even for gas to and from their clients' homes. Meanwhile, these "paid-not-to-work employees" are receiving upwards of $25,000 a year in benefits in addition to their salaries.
In my opinion this is Humboldt County's greatest shame. But it is also a loss of what would be a financial gain for our local economy.
For every dollar paid to IHSS workers the county contributes 17 cents. The remaining 83 cents is paid for by state and federal programs already in place, making it a net gain to our local economy of 83 cents for every dollar paid.
By helping low income people remain in their own homes, in familiar surroundings, the IHSS program is keeping many clients out of nursing homes, thereby saving millions of taxpayer dollars in MediCal.
Of course the Board of Supervisors should act out of basic humanity and raise the wages of these employees, immediately and significantly. The fact that it would be a boost to the economy should only make this choice easier.
Contact the Board of Supervisors at 707 476-2396 and demand they do the decent and financially prudent thing by raising the stalwart IHSS home health care workers who work so hard, for so little, and do so much good for so many.
Richard Salzman, Arcata