Marv, the people who work for government are not Little Sisters of the Poor. Many of them have highly specialized skills that they should be properly compensated for. Some of those skills are only applicable in government.
My college education was paid for by myself, every dime of it, by working in sculleries and auto plants on the line. I'll make no apologies for that.
I never sought a local presidency in the unions. I did speak out forcefully from time to time on issues and that got me nominated but I did not actively seek those positions. Once in those position I endeavored to represent my members to the best of my ability--that is what I was elected to do. I did so so that we could keep our experienced employees --nobody wants to work with a bunch of newbies that turn over in a year or less.
You imply that since it was government that we did not keep our eye on the bottom line. The goal is to make sure our members are fairly compensated without breaking the budget. When I went into negotiate I know pretty much what we have to work with and I didn't plan to piss off taxpayers by playing "bandit".
Marv, you said,"If the problem is/was so bad, why didn't you fix it??"
It ain't exactly like fixing an airplane. People problems are a little bit like shooting coyotes. You can try to extirpate them all on one day, but sure as the sun rises, there will be more tomorrow. If you ignore them, the problem only gets worse. Victory in human services is one family at a time. I am proud to say, very few of the families I worked with were ever seen in the system again. The taxpayer got what they paid for.