They are the people who run our schools, our local government and protect our neighborhoods.
But do you know how much these public employees are making to serve the public?
We took that question straight to the taxpayers on the streets of Indiana and Kentucky to find out.
Asked to guess how much the EVSC Superintendent makes, one resident answered, "Maybe $100,000?"
Try several thousand dollars higher. According to EVSC officials, doctor Vincent Bertram's salary is $160,000 dollars a year.
One of the highest county government jobs is Vanderburgh County Health Officer. In 2007, this position paid $122,274.
Sheriff Eric Williams made $117,565 and some tax payers say that's not enough.
"If they risk their life for anything at all, I don't think they get paid enough," said one resident.
Other high paying county jobs include Chief Public Defender and the Health Department Dentist.
So how are these positions funded? Vanderburgh County Council member Lloyd Winnecke said they must be approved by the council.
"Every year in August, the county goes through budget hearings and that's the time we consider for every item from personal salaries to copy paper. At that time we determine what, if any, the county is willing to offer in terms of a pay raise," said Winnecke.
He also said the council tries to consider the taxpayers when paying public workers.
"The county council does a really good job of weighing the desire to provide a really nice pay raise for it's employees versus what the county's able to afford."
When asked about jobs within the City of Evansville, most taxpayers we asked on the street think the mayor's position is the highest on the pay scale, and they're right.
Mayor Weinzapfel's salary for 2007 totals $94,235.
The police and fire chiefs each made $87,216.
Evansville's controller makes $83,741.22 and the general manager makes $82,178.33.
Across the river in Daviess County, once again education officials top the list.
Owensboro's superintendent makes $174,575; Daviess County's makes $152,775.
These are numbers Daviess County resident Noel Jordan says seem a little too high.
"We're spending too much money on one specific job and then wondering why our teachers aren't paid better?" he said.
The Daviess County sheriff's salary totals $107,581.
The county judge executive totals just over $104,000, along with the county administrator.
The jailer's salary is more than $100,000 and the clerk's is $95,244.
Judge Reid Haire who is on that list says things are much different in the Commonwealth than Indiana. These positions are state funded.
"Those salaries for the jailer, the sheriff, the judge,the county clerk, etc, are fixed," Haire said. "With the years of experience and cost of living increases, we have very similar salaries."
The Owensboro city manager's salary totals just over $120,000.
The city attorney makes $109,465.
The city operations manager makes $101,603 and the IT director's salary is just under $100,000.
Owensboro's mayor makes $26,887, although that is a part time position.
The highest paid salary we found for this report is the Gibson County sheriff's position. According to local officials, in 2007, Sheriff Allen Harmon made over $178,000.
That includes his base pay of $20,000, plus $24,000 for operating community corrections, plus left over funds after payment of inmates' meals.
Other local high-paying positions:
Judge Executive $89,882
County Clerk $89,882
Road Engineer $86,320