Tuesday, July 06, 2010

County's Massive Overtime, Costly Privatization Gives Walker Zero Management Credibility

Walker Would Need to Slash Half the State Workforce to Finance Multi-Billion-Dollar Tax Cut, Loophole and Shift Scheme

Madison -- Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has promised to reveal his plans in the coming days to reduce the state government payroll, but if his Milwaukee County record is any indication of his plans, taxpayers will be socked with higher costs and compromised safety.

Walker's failed leadership has caused Milwaukee County taxpayers an estimated $100 million in overtime costs and his privatization schemes have caused higher costs and compromised public safety. Walker has indicated slashing the state workforce will pay for the $5 billion budget hole caused by both the state's projected $2.3 budget deficit, and Walker's $3 billion unpaid-plan for tax cuts, tax loopholes and tax shifts which would primarily help the rich and big business.

"If Scott Walker effectively managed the workforce in Milwaukee County, he wouldn't have had to shell out $100 million in overtime since he's been in office," said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. "The Walker record is clear: failed employee management, failed privatization schemes and failed stewardship of Milwaukee County's tax dollars."

Walker's failed record on controlling county costs and failed leadership:

According to county records, Walker has averaged approximately $15 million in overtime each year since he has been county executive, topping $70 million at the end of 2008. This would put the total tab at nearly $100 million by the end of 2010. Walker has repeatedly bragged about cutting the Milwaukee payroll, but taxpayers foot the bill for record overtime costs to make up for lost jobs. [Milwaukee County Department of Administrative Services]

Despite Walker's claims that he has done so without compromising public safety, he has proposed cutting 10 percent of safety officers in Milwaukee County -- nearly 160 fewer positions. [Milwaukee County Executive Recommended Budgets: 2003-2010]

Walker's privatization efforts have produced costly deficits, while reduced public accountability. For instance, the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division ran a more-than half a million dollar deficit for "security fees" in 2008 alone. Worse, a private contract employee sexually assaulted a vulnerable patient, and a private security official with a history of improper sexual conduct with employees was hired to oversee security. [Milwaukee County DHHS 2008 Fiscal Report; WISN-TV, 5/18/10; WMTJ-TV, 4/15/10]
The non-partisan legislative fiscal bureau predicts a $2.3 billion state deficit in 2011. Walker has proposed an additional $3 billion in tax cuts and tax shifts that would also need to be paid for through cutting education, health care, police officers and fire fighters.

To pay this $5 billion tab, Walker would need to cut worker benefits by at least 50 percent, or slash more than 36,000 state jobs. Walker's worker cuts could mean the loss of thousands of teachers and researchers from the University of Wisconsin, prison guards and state troopers who provide public safety and health care workers who assist the elderly and people with disabilities.

"We need job creation and responsible budgeting, not more of Scott Walker's failed leadership, his job cuts and his tax breaks for the rich and big business," said Ross. "Scott Walker has zero credibility when it comes to managing employees and responsible budgeting."

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.


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