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For the past five years, approximately three times per week, I’ve volunteered picking up litter in my community.

This past month I informed a local commercial facility (for a second time in the past couple years) that their operation appeared to be again inadvertently adding to the debris in our community and that they should verify that corrective actions previously implemented were still in effect. Unfortunately, and perhaps because I spoke with different personnel, I was instead met with disdain, banned from their facility, falsely accused of having multiple complaints submitted against me, and threatened with legal action!

Understandably, I was rather upset. However, after contemplation, I soon recalled how similar abuse has been levied at city representatives, and how I had read about such treatment against state officials. I then recalled how mayors and city councils are paid only $100/month, and essentially volunteer full-time — often working late into the evening.

I also recalled how even state representatives are paid less than minimum wage, when one considers the extensive hours they commit! After these considerations, I realized how insignificant and trite my recent experience had been. I then thought how beneficial it would be if everyone, particularly those in high level representation, were to have the experience of serving at city/state positions. And how such exposure might provide a better understanding of the moniker “civil servant,” rather than that of “privileged” and “autocrat”!

My final thought was about how our state and local representatives are not afforded the luxury of paid weekend golf outings, but are certainly deserving of a “military parade”!

Bill Tally

Albany (March 19)

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