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Government workers sometimes seem like the Rodney Dangerfield of the workforce.

They’re often derided by both politicians and taxpayers. They’re the butt of stereotypical jokes: “Why didn’t the government worker turn on his computer in the morning? There would be nothing for him to do in the afternoon.”

For state workers at least, the benefits and the job safety aren’t what they used to be. The pay generally isn’t much to boast about, either. Thousands of state positions have been cut in the past decade.

So it’s refreshing to see Gov. Mike Parson continue the annual tradition of honoring our public employees. Parson signed a proclamation to declare this week as Public Service Recognition Week in Missouri, to honor Missouri’s public servants during the week, which is celebrated nationally.

“State of Missouri employees and public servants throughout our state have the great responsibility and privilege that comes with public service — to make a difference in people’s lives,” Parson said in a news release. “Public service is challenging, rewarding and purposeful. At the State of Missouri, our purpose is to first and foremost take care of our fellow Missourians and provide them with the services they need. State employees carry out this duty selflessly, often for people they may never see, may never talk to, or may never meet.”

Two events will highlight the week:

• Parson handed out the Governor’s Award for Quality and Productivity during a Tuesday ceremony in the Capitol. This year’s ceremony recognized five teams (from among 19 nominated) for their service excellence, efficiency, innovation, process improvement, and employee ingenuity within Missouri state government.

• State of Missouri Employees of the Month, who received the honor from May 2018 to April 2019, and the 2018 Missouri State Employee Award of Distinction recipients, will be celebrated on Monday during an evening reception at the Governor’s Mansion.

We’re glad to see those traditions continuing. But one tradition that reached far more state employees was the annual state employee recognition day on the Capitol lawn. The state provided hot dogs, chips and sodas to state employees, who could also visit booths from various agencies.

It would be nice to see that return as a way to honor all state employees.

News Tribune

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