County Committed to CSB

I am responding to the statement made by Michael Ragland in his letter published June 22 in the Prince William Forum.

Specifically, Mr. Ragland stated that members of the Board of County Supervisors and Chairman Kathleen K. Seefeldt have not appointed consumers or consumer family members to the Community Services Board (CSB) as required by law. Mr. Ragland is wrong.

The Community Services Board includes four consumers and family members, a membership that exceeds the statutory requirement. The last appointment to the CSB, in March, was the family member of an active CSB consumer.

These appointments demonstrate the Board of County Supervisors' commitment to the consumers who receive mental health, mental retardation and substance abuse services in our community.

The Virginia statute requiring consumer membership on CSB took effect July 1, 1998. Because of confidentiality regulations, it did not require that existing board members disclose that they are or have been consumers of the CSB system.

The Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services now requires community services boards to certify that the their membership is compliant with the code in the Annual Performance Contract. Prince William County fulfilled this requirement on June 18.

It is important to note that the current consumer membership of the CSB predated the statutory requirement, a further indicator of the Board of County Supervisors' commitment to the Community Services Board and the citizens of Prince William County.

TOM GEIB

Executive director

Prince William County

Community Services Board

Clearing Up the Numbers

Your June 20 story "Supervisors Hold the Line on Taxes -- and Services" left an incorrect impression of the fiscal 2000 budget recently passed by the Stafford County Board of Supervisors.

It does not decrease the fund balance, which has already sunk to $3.75 million.

Of the $5.8 million depletion of the fund balance over the past year, only $1.8 million was the result of unanticipated expenses (primarily for incarceration).

The remaining $4 million in deficit spending was passed by the board more than a year ago, with one dissenting vote -- mine.

DAVID R. BEILER

Stafford Board of Supervisors

I-Falmouth

Falmouth

What Bus Drivers Need

I am a Prince William County school bus driver. I may not be next year.

There are some real problems in this county with keeping qualified bus drivers. We are constantly being challenged by student behavior, illness, injury, weather conditions and traffic.

There are some days we deal with extremely hot weather, in un-air-conditioned buses. Some of us are on the bus more than seven hours each day, yet we are still only considered part-time employees.

On cold days, our buses take a long time to heat and can become big yellow sleds.

With the students we carry and the accountability we have getting the students home safely, the job becomes even more stressful.

Bus drivers are considered part time. Our day is broken up in a way that makes it difficult to find another part-time job during the midday hours. We are either working or on call from 6 a.m. until 5 or 6 p.m. but are still considered part time.

The amount we pay for health insurance is more than full-time employees pay. We have no paid holidays. We are not paid for teachers' workdays. We are not paid for any snow days. A lot of us are upset.

The county pays us by using some formula that takes money out of each pay period so that when holidays, snow days or teachers' workdays occur, we get paid money we have already earned but that was withheld.

We don't need formulas for our pay. We need benefits such as paid holidays, teachers' workdays and snow days.

Fairfax County has these benefits for its drivers. Fairfax also helps by paying more toward health insurance premiums.

School Superintendent Edward L. Kelly needs to wake up and smell the diesel fuel. We do it every morning.

In order to hire and keep qualified bus drivers, the time has come to give raises and benefits.

MARY C. SINES

Manassas

Extra Wants Your Opinions

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