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What I wish people knew about public employees

Here’s what I wish people knew about public employees: We are people just like you. Many of us live in the communities we serve in and we want them to be places where people love to live and raise their children. Public employees are your neighbors, your friends, and the people in the carpool line. We were often born and raised in the same communities where we serve, and so for us, it is personal.

I was a Community Service Officer for the City of Syracuse for ten years. From day-to-day, I worked directly with the public to try to help them through difficult times. We also provided support to police officers. I enjoyed my job because it was different every day. I got to meet people who I never would have had the opportunity to know otherwise, and they were all so different. That meant that no two days were ever the same.

I think public employees who work at the local level feel especially close to our communities because we’re out there every day, working face-to-face with the people who we might see later at the grocery store or at a little league game. This makes what we do personal – we care deeply about the people we serve.

Sometimes the work we do is difficult and thankless. People may misunderstand our intentions, or they may not understand why we have to do the things we do. But there are other times when people really see how hard we try to make things better for them. Those were the best times.

I was born and raised in Syracuse, and now I’m raising my children here. The police officers, fire fighters, teachers and others who keep our city going make a difference in our lives. I am grateful for them, and I am grateful for the time I spent in uniform.