Friday, September 26, 2008

Walker's Weaselly Ways

If Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker wants to be governor of Wisconsin someday, he has a strange way of going about it.

First we get the news that he has given his top staff and cronies amazingly obscene raises. Not only were the raises excessive, but he does it on the sly by getting a legal opinion saying he can do that without notifying the county board, and then sneaks it hoping no one will notice. Well, bully for him. Someone needs to remind him that Ament had a legal opinion when he pushed through the pension enhancers and back drops.

Walker claims that he did it to make their pay more in line with other similar positions. That is the same reason the County Board used last year when they wanted to give themselves a raise. Walker, rightfully, dismissed that argument, and vetoed their raises. But in Walker's world, what is good for the goose isn't always good for the gander apparently.

It should also be noted that CRG, the supposed watchdogs that describe themselves as being for a responsible government, gave a weak answer to it:

Orville Seymer, field director for Citizens for Responsible Government Network, said the raises for Nardelli and some other Walker aides appeared excessive.

"I just think all these people are overpaid" and unlikely to command such salaries in the private sector, Seymer said.
But their database that is supposed to show transparency in the county's spending is now mysteriously unavailable. If a liberal official pulled a stunt like that, they would have already had the recall petitions signed and delivered.

To further highlight his shamelessness, Walker goes whining to his buddies, like Charlie Sykes and Owen Robinson, that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has "an agenda." Um, Scott, the only one with an agenda is you. And that said agenda is to make it to the governor's mansion no matter what. If Walker was a real leader, he would just admit to making a bad decision and offer his apologies. But that kind of ethical behavior is beyond him.

The same day that the Walker's gifts to his cronies are being reported, Walker also announced that the county is $6 million in the hole, and he has to make up for it by laying off workers, cutting overtime, and otherwise sticking it to the people of Milwaukee County.

Again we catch Walker and his staff lying. First is the claim that he didn't know about the deficit when he gave the raises. Then he knew there was a $2 million deficit, but didn't think it mattered. Then his aid, Cynthia Archer, says that the staff heading departments with a deficit didn't get a raise, but that is also false. Walker gave Jack Takarian a raise, while his department had a $330,000 deficit, which he didn't even report to the county board as is required by the law.

The very next day, Walker announces his budget proposal which, like every other year, includes plans to sell off parts of the county, dismantle others, and to privatize services to his political backers. His budget proposal is so bad that it will take some time to digest the whole fiasco. But that is for a later post.

In a nutshell, he wants to sell off the airport, the county grounds, push a more expensive and less safe plan for the mental health complex, push an unsafe corrections plan, and continue to ruin the transit system and the parks.

Once again, we find Walker trying to climb his way up the political ladder by paying off his cronies and backers, meanwhile trying to get a foot up on the back to the citizens and the workers in Milwaukee County. I guess it's time again to encourage the county board to do the right thing and correct all of Walker's short-sightedness.

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