This is the season for homecoming
celebrations. Special celebrations at college football games,
dances and high school parties will be in full swing for
several months. However, there is a very special homecoming
planned in one of the public agencies in South Florida. Police
Sergeant Pete Bermudez will be coming home from Afghanistan.
Pete has served in the Army Reserves for more than 11 years.
While he has seen the inside of a lot of Humvees lately, it
has been a while since he has seen the inside of a police car.
His wife and fellow police officer, Julie, will be planning a
party and the city government in Miramar, Fla. will be
any hungry internal auditor might ask, "What justification is
there for government support and some public money, even if it
is a very small amount, to participate in a homecoming
answer involves the basic "test" for the discretionary
authority of a county manager or a city manger for the use of
public funds for any event. The test question is whether or
not there is "public purpose" associated with the
almost every public agency in the county and city can attest,
there is definitely an impact on local government services,
especially law enforcement, because of how seriously stretched
the U.S. military is in Iraq and Afghanistan.
county taxpayers end up paying the cost of replacing the
soldier/employee, perhaps at time-and-a-half. It is these
local agencies which often continue the benefits of the public
employees while they are fulfilling a federal role, if
military pay does not equal their public agency pay. It is
also the local government which loses the experience and
expertise of employees who, particularly in a smaller agency,
may occupy key roles.
course, there is great importance and great honor associated
with service in the defense of our country. The former "HR
Captain" is well aware of that. No one sacrifices more than
the individual soldiers placed in harms way. Nonetheless, it
is important to note that public agencies serve the national
defense as well when they suffers the loss of trained and
valued employees, and with little or no control over that
a world with increasing comprehension of the need for homeland
security, the role of local emergency service workers is even
more important than in the past. Unfortunately, many
communities will face difficulties if there ever is a serious
and sustained emergency.
many firefighter/paramedics also work in emergency rooms or
trauma centers during the substantial periods of time off they
have? Those hospitals will count these "OR" or "ER"
technicians, and count on them, as members of their staffs if
a community emergency, such as a bioterrorism event, occurs.
However, these same people will be ordered by the local
government for extended "alpha/bravo" overtime shifts for the
result is that we may well be over-estimating the number of
emergency workers available to help. The loss of Reserve and
National Guard members may well compound that
the case of our internal auditor friend, the city will pass
the test with flying colors. Celebrating the return of one of
the local governments finest has a public purpose. From the
regular communications Bermudez had with his colleagues in
Miramar via e-mail, from sending home flags which flew in
battle zones to help others remember the sacrifices being
made, to celebrating a safe and healthy return to duty in the
service of local government, there are morale and teambuilding
reasons for the workforce and the public to join in
acknowledging extraordinary service.
Welcome home Pete, I am looking
forward to joining not only your celebration, but that of your
family members who also served in the countrys defense in
ways that are not acknowledged and celebrated