Sunday, November 6, 2011

Walkergate: Pay For Play Continues To Pay Off

Early in the year, one of the bills that Scott Walker and his cohorts in the legislature rammed through was to mandate that road work could no longer be done by public sector workers but had instead to be farmed out to private vendors. This was done despite findings that private contractors were costing even the state's Department of Transportation millions of dollars more than they would have spent if the work was done by public sector workers. The bill was so fraudulent that even Republican Senator Mike Ellis called it outrageous.

Walker and his allies said it was to help control the "high cost" of "bloated public works departments."

But we are now seeing the real reason why Walker wanted this passed was so badly - to benefit their campaign donors.

An example of this just came to light in Outagamie County (emphasis mine):
Farming out a paint-striping job to a private company cost Outagamie County considerably more than having a neighboring county do the work under a reciprocal agreement.

So says Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, who this week cited the highway improvement on County Road P near Black Creek as the first county project to confirm earlier fears that costs will spiral under a new state law.

Nelson called it a case of "sticker shock, a wake-up call to the governor and entire Legislature to repeal law changes that forbid local governments from working together and saving taxpayer dollars."

Here's the issue as Nelson described it: Outagamie County recently solicited quotes for paint striping 2.5 miles of County Road P. Under the old law, it would have cost $500 to $700 by using Calumet County's equipment and crew under a reciprocal agreement.

Those types of agreements are limited now under state law in an attempt by Republican legislators to push contracts to private businesses.

After Outagamie County solicited quotes from private vendors, only one was made. Century Fence, of Pewaukee, quoted $3,935 for the work, or more than five times the cost under the reciprocal agreement with Calumet County.

Purchasing and operating its own paint striper would cost Outagamie County in excess of $200,000, Nelson said. So it's logical for the county to make use of Calumet County's paint striper in exchange for letting Calumet County use Outagamie County's costly road reclaimer, a high- ticket machine that recycles and readies old asphalt pavement for re-use, Nelson said.

He called the substantial price hike "a sampling of things to come" unless the law is repealed.
Century Fence, the sole bidder and winner of this contract, just so happens to be a big donor to many Republican politicians including Walker, Becky Kleefisch, Alberta Darling and the disgraced and ousted Dan Kapanke.

Nice way to work out for the working people and the tax payers, eh?

And, as I know you were wondering, no, this is not anything new for Walker either.

As Milwaukee County Executive, Walker arbitrarily gave a housekeeping contract worth $1.2 million to MidAmerican Building services. The owner of this firm is Edward Aprahamian, Jr., who gave Walker $3,000 in campaign donations. (Interestingly, the article also reports that Aprahamian is a partner in a political consultancy firm, but doesn't divulge which one and if they worked with or were working with Walker at the time.)

Another example would be with Milwaukee County security guards. In the beginning of 2010, Walker claimed a fiscal emergency and immediately laid off the county-employed security guards, giving the contract to long-time campaign contributor Wackenhut Corp, an England-based company with a long history of problems. However, Walker, in his eagerness to repay his campaign donor, did the lay offs illegally and Milwaukee County was forced to hire back the old guards and give them back pay, at a tune of nearly half a million dollars. Not only that, but Milwaukee County ended up in the ridiculous position of having county guards, Wackenhut staff and county deputies (usually as overtime) all guarding the same doors.

There was no way that this could have been called fiscal responsibility, but that has never been Walker's objective.

His only concern has been rewarding his benefactors as he seeks higher and higher offices. And he has gotten the corrupt act of pay-for-play down to an art form.


  1. Didn't one of those Milwaukee County contracted companies give Milwaukee workers another slap in the face by bringing in workers from Illinois? I seem to remember that as an issue.

  2. I had heard that the people hired to clean the courthouse did not even clean the entire courthouse. Judges and their courtroom staff had to clean their courtrooms if they wanted to work in a clean environment.

    Which of Walkers idiot staff signed that contract to have less than the entire courthouse cleaned? Why wouldn't they have a contract that would clean the entire building? Could it be that it is actually cheaper to have government employees do the job instead of hiring a for profit private company? Too bad we will never get an honest answer to that question. At least when Walker is involved.