Readers write, Feb. 24


I appreciated Edgar Ortiz’s article (“Community banks in survival struggle,” Business, Feb. 17) and agree with much of it. He is especially on point in noting the unique role of community banks, particularly the service approach — for small businesses and beyond. Due to scale and other factors, we can get to know, understand and meet customer needs.

However, I would lend the perspective that part of what he puts forth is in some cases already taking place. Where big-box banks may send you from department to department, community banks empower their people to shepherd customers across functions rather than handing them off. You always have someone you can call and, done right, they’ll know you personally.

As for regulation: All banks face a challenge complying with additional regulations and, while the “mega-banks” may have economies of scale, I have confidence after 47 years in banking that regulation will sort itself out and community banks will use their entrepreneurial spirit to continue to serve customers who seek this model of service.



Justice poorly served

by entrapment tactics

I’m not at all encouraged by the arrest of law enforcers and public officials who are entrapped in so-called “sting” operations (“Corruption scandal rocks police,” News, Feb. 17).

These operations seem to penalize at-risk individuals without identifying any real crime kingpins or in any way impeding the actual drug trade and corruption they are intent on mimicking. From former Gwinnett County Commissioner Shirley Lassiter to the latest crop of 10 police officers, these poor folks got tricked by cheap, invented scams. I see no benefit to this kind of fake law enforcement.

I wish that federal and local agencies could instead focus on rooting out the real bad guys instead of corrupting the sad, broke and unstable persons at the bottom of more or less respectable organizations.



Sequester latest blow

after years of cutting

The media have described the impact of sequestration in some detail. However, they have not addressed the damage that will be done to federal managers and employees. Since the cuts are “across the board,” they apply to every budget category and will result in staff furloughs and loss of pay. When federal staff is laid off, the employing agency is required to reimburse 100 percent of the costs of unemployment benefits, unlike private-sector employers who pay at a set tax rate. This cost causes the fiscal situation to be even worse than the sequester alone.

As a former federal manager, I saw staff in my office shrink from over 250 in 1972 to less than 50 when I retired in 2010, with little reduction in mission or mandate. I am proud of my federal career, yet the never-ending budget cuts, the threats of government shutdowns, and the incessant anti-government diatribes from some quarters have taken their toll. The sequester will make recruiting quality workers into the federal government more difficult than ever.



Hopes for Thurmond

to rebuild citizen trust

As a tax-paying, voting citizen of DeKalb County, I am pleased with your coverage of the DeKalb Board of Education situation. Michael Thurmond’s comments, (“Determined to meet the challenges ahead,” Opinion, Feb. 17), were especially interesting. He states that the citizens of the county have placed great trust in him. I do have admiration for what he is trying to do; I hope he is successful. As a non-elected employee of the Board of Education, answering to the current board that continues to do the unthinkable, trust is not the first attribute that comes to mind. Trust is earned over time. Time will tell.