No sympathy for superintendent
The average state retiree is not going to lose sleep over the pension controversy involving the Johnston County school superintendent. At issue is whether the superintendent is entitled to annual retirement pay of $137,000 for the rest of his life, which amounts to nearly seven times the average state retiree compensation.
The typical state retiree gets less than $20,000 a year and that is for a 30-year career, sometimes longer. Neither the average state employee nor teacher has access to perks such as a car allowance or paid insurance premiums, the value of which might be thrown in to spike his or her retirement pay.
The State Legislature moved to restore fiscal responsibility to the pension system a few years ago after several highly paid employees sought to feather their nest with undeserved benefits.
Members of the school board should have known about this change, and if they didn’t, it was their own fault, not the taxpayers of Johnston County and not the state retirement system, which is already underfunded.
He’s not buying pleas of ignorance
I have been following the news in reference to Johnston County Schools Superintendent Ed Croom. I have a couple of comments that I think need addressing. First, the articles state that he must have 30 years of service to retire, but it also states that he taught for 21 years and was superintendent for seven years. Where do the other two years come from? Two years of sick and annual leave?
Also, are were to believe that no one knew that making certain perks salary would increase his retirement benefits? And after talking with Superintendent Croom, one legislator helped extend the date to retire by. Now the school board chairman does not want to discuss this anymore. I guess no one knew what was happening, and they just voted to get it over with.
Now they want to save the people of Johnston County from having to pick up the tab and let the state employees pay all of Croom’s retirement. How many teachers would love to have these benefits? Or any of our state employees?
U.S. need not fear Sharia Law
I am writing in reply to the letter by my friend, the Rev. Paul Olsen, in the Jan. 24 edition. It seems obvious to me that Mr. Olsen’s concern is not really Sharia Law but, rather, the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. Mr. Olsen certainly has the right to support whomever he desires, so I will not address that issue.
But I do want to address the misinformation he presents about Sharia Law. Not even all of the countries that are predominately Muslim in their population use Sharia as their legal system, although many do. Even many majority-Muslim countries that do use Sharia use it only in part. Most use Sharia for personal law – marriage, divorce, domestic violence, child support, family matters, inheritance, etc.
Elements of Sharia are present, to varying extents, in the criminal justice system of most Muslim-majority countries. Saudi Arabia is the primary government that uses it fully. Most Muslim-majority countries with Sharia-prescribed punishments in their legal code do not prescribe it routinely and use other punishments instead. The harshest Sharia penalties, such as stoning, beheading and the death penalty, are enforced with varying levels of consistency.
Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Brunei, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Mauritania apply the code predominantly, while it applies only partly in certain India, Indonesia and Nigeria. Turkey abolished Sharia in 1924. Most countries of the world, especially those in North and South America, do not recognize Sharia, and there is little prospect of them ever doing so. The United States is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and therefore Mr. Olsen need not worry about the English Common Law ever being replaced by the imposition of Sharia in this country.
Michael J. Watts