Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Scott Walker's Favorite Game: Musical Cronies

When Scott Walker isn't busy trampling the rights of workers, women and children, he needs to occupy his time somehow. So to amuse himself, he likes to play a good game of musical cronies, in which he keeps shuffling his cronies around to cushier and cushier jobs.

This was seen when he promoted the two-time drunk-driving school-dropout son of a wealthy lobbyist, Brian Deschane, to a job he was quite unqualified for.

Then there is the matter of Judas Plale.  Walker had given Plale his thirty pieces of silver by giving him a nice state job as administrator of the state's Division of State Facilities as a reward for his audition to throw the working people of Wisconsin under the bus and rejecting the Tentative Agreement with the unions at the end of last year.  Given Walker's long history of neglecting Milwaukee County buildings, you'd think that would be a cakewalk of a position.  But apparently it wasn't cushy enough.

Yesterday, Walker announced that he was moving Plale up to Commissioner of Railroads, a job that pays $90,000+ a year.  And when one looks at the responsibilities of the job, you can see how cushy it is. It gets even cushier when one considers that the myopic Walker, in an act of campaign bravado, had the high speed rail, and the thousands of jobs that would have come with it, killed off.  Along with rejecting the funding for the high speed rail, the unwitting and witless Walker also threw away the money that we needed to keep the rails in good enough shape.  Now that we have no funding for either the high speed rail or maintenance of our existing rail system, I guess Plale's job is to sit at his desk, making choo-choo noises.

But Walker wasn't done with just Plale. Not by a long shot.

We also learned yesterday that Walker had promoted Tom Nardelli to a cushier job just last month to another $90,000+ a year job as administrator for the Division of Environmental and Regulatory Services.  Nardelli had been Walker's Chief of Staff and Head Executhug when Walker was Milwaukee County Executive.

But in an unusual act from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the allowed reporter Steve Schultz to actually do some real reporting:
In an interview, Nardelli said "other little things" related to the internal operations of his former state agency also led to his resignation. He declined to say what those were.

John Murray, a spokesman for Nardelli's former state agency, said Nardelli had left "to pursue other opportunities." Another state official is temporarily filling Nardelli's job, Murray said.

Spokesmen for Walker did not return calls about Nardelli's resignation.

Nardelli said an ongoing John Doe investigation that included prosecutors' seizure of work computers of at least two former county staffers of Walker's had nothing to do with his resignation from his state job. Nardelli said he had not been questioned in the probe, which began more than a year ago.

The probe is believed to focus at least in part on allegations of county workers aiding Walker's campaign while on the job for the county.

In an interview earlier this summer, Walker said prosecutors were "looking at a lot of people . . . things like that are pretty much open-ended. So they can look at just about anything."

He did not respond to a question about whether he thought his former county staffers would be cleared in the Doe investigation.

Nardelli said he plans to revive his dormant consulting business, though he'll be barred temporarily from lobbying the state or the county. Both have laws banning lobbying by former employees for a year after they quit their public jobs.
First, let me just say that I am trying very hard to keep from getting my hope up that the John Doe is anywhere near completion.

As far as the "other little things," that could, of course, mean almost everything, such as he didn't like having to still answer to Walker and not be able to set up his own fiefdom to there not being enough graft for his taste.

The consulting business angle is probably closer to the truth. Nardelli cannot lobby the state yet, but he would be able to go to the city right away and to the county in few months.

The one thing that keeps niggling at the back of my mind is the possibility of Walker being ready to try some kind of stunt like they did in Michigan and having a law rammed through so he can declare Milwaukee County bankrupt and put Nardelli in charge.

Regardless, it's pretty amazing that Walker is still willing to be so blatant and egregious in handing out jobs to his cronies like they were going out of style tomorrow.

As a final note, I would just ask that Steve Schultz or someone else to look into and see what ol' Tim Russell is up to these days and whether he is also a state worker nowadays.


  1. Interesting analysis, thanks.

  2. Um, the "Emergency Manager" provisions - ala Michigan - were part of the union-busting bill. Walker now has the power to declare an emergency whenever he wishes, and take over any municipality he wishes. The fun part is he doesn't have to prove there even is an emergency. Read the legislation; it's all in there.


  3. nardelli's leaving sounds like mannie perez, part two.

  4. Wonder what would happen if they declared an emergency and nobody came. Also, ain't it funny how many of these gummint-hating hacks to whom the teapublicans keep dishing out the plum jobs have no real work histories other than gummint.

  5. I wonder if Nardelli's pension was affected by the promotion, so that it might be higher based on his last position.