Thursday, October 13, 2011

Plale Trades Silver Pieces For Platinum Card

At the end of 2010, the state legislature tried a Hail Mary move in passing state contracts in order to save jobs and the state economy. Sadly, they were not able to pull it off, mainly because two turncoat Democrats, former Senators Russ Decker and Jeff Plale, turned their backs on Wisconsin tax payers and working families and voted against the contracts.

Plale, who had already applied for a job in the Walker administration, was rewarded for his betrayal with the proverbial thirty pieces of silver and was given a job as Administrator for the Division of State Facilities.

Walker then sweetened the reward later in the year by appointing Plale as the state's railroad commissioner.  I made a snarky comment at the time, wondering if Plale's new job consisted of sitting in his office making "choo-choo" noises.

Via Jill Sixpack, we learn that Plale was a bit busier than just making choo-choo noises. He was making cash registers go ka-ching a lot too:
Three months into the fiscal year that began July 1, the Office of the Commissioner of Railroads, has spent $16,500 and is obligated to spend another $27,500, meaning roughly 72 percent, or $44,280 of its annual $61,500 budget for supplies and services has already been spent, according to a Sept. 30 memo obtained by The Capital Times.
As a result, the Public Service Commission had to take his state credit card away and put him on notice that he has to go through them to buy anything. The problem wasn't just that he was spending too much, but also that Plale and his crew were spreading the money around like a Koch Brothers lobbyist:
Among the money spent, roughly $13,500 is for rent for the commission's suite on North Whitney Way. Another $6,198 has been spent on minor equipment and software, a significantly higher amount than the $1,000 the agency was allocated for that category for the entire fiscal year.

Other top expenses include nearly $9,000 for use of a state vehicle, says Cynthia Smith, an attorney with the Public Service Commission. Olson referred questions on specific expenditures to Smith after The Cap Times filed an open-records request.

Of "particular concern" cited by Olson in her memo were the purchases made by one staffer on June 24 with a state-issued purchasing card.

The card, which had been issued to the staffer for photo processing costs, was instead used for "a variety of non-photo related items" including the purchase of office furniture and custom-framing expenses.

In addition, the purchases were not made at Staples, the company that has the state contract for office supplies. The staffer made the purchases at Office Depot.
So, one could imagine Scott Walker, Mr. Fiscally Conservative, would be beside himself in rage at this waste of tax payer money and tear Plale a new one, right?

Not really. In fact, I could not find any comment from Walker on this issue.

But that isn't really surprising, given the way that Walker himself has been squandering our tax dollars in the form of lavish raises for cronies and sons of lobbyists. Furthermore, Walker is no stranger to the misuse of state credit cards.

One of his closest friends and cronies, Tim Russell, was fired from the state years ago for misusing the credit card he was given. Despite this show of poor ethics and misappropriation of funds, Walker not only continued to give his friend high paying, high level jobs in Milwaukee County, he actually helped cover up the misdeeds to get approval of his appointment from the Milwaukee County Board.

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