Monday, July 16, 2012

The Furlough Fiasco Follies Continue

Last month, I reported on how the Milwaukee County Board and Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele finally figured out that they weren't going to win an ongoing series of court hearing and decided to pay out the illegal furloughs that Scott Walker had imposed on county employees.  It only took them a year too!

The total bill for just the furloughs for just 2010 came to be over $4 million.  The bulk of that bill lands at the feet of Scott Walker. He used the county budget as a political tool to be manipulated to give the voters the false impression that he was a fiscal conservative.

However, the current county government also have a certain responsibility.  First for going along with Walker's illegal activity and secondly for squandering a year's worth of interest, totally about a half a million dollars, while they tried to squirm out of their responsibility.

The County Board passed the resolution to pay the workers back for 2010, leaving 2011 to be resolved at a different time when they "had the money."  (That story is a little hard to believe since Abele was just bragging about an $11.5 million surplus and that's after he pays the workers for 2010.)  Abele then signed the bill.

However, there was a catch added to the resolution before it was passed.

Supervisor Patricia Jursik added a poison pill to the resolution before it was passed.  She amended the resolution thus (CB Amendment #1):

On the Be It Resolved Clause, revise as follows:

BE IT RESOLVED, that Milwaukee County approves the payment of the award by the WERC to affected employees for 2010 furlough days and approves the dismissal of the appeal in the Court of Appeals in this matter. shall pay the 2010 furlough days awarded by the WERC to the affected employees in the above litigation, with interest, in return for a dismissal of all appeals and cross-appeals by all parties in the litigation related to 2010; and

Add the following Be It Further Resolved Clause:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that in the event the other parties to the litigation will not agree to dismissal of all appeals and cross-appeals in the litigation as set forth in the preceding paragraph, Milwaukee County shall seek permission from the court to pay the total amount of the WERC award, plus interest to the date of payment, into court until the resolution of all appeals and cross-appeals in the litigation related to 2010 and shall do so upon receipt of the court’s approval.
By adding this language, she was changing the resolution from a simple agreement to pay the workers their back pay plus interest from 2010 with 2011 to be determined later to paying them for the furloughs of 2010 only and then trying to extort the workers to give up on the 2011 furloughs, by threatening the interest they were penalized.

Needless to say, this was a deal killer and the unions got ready to take the county back to court. I'd imagine the court might be willing to add another penalty for the contempt that Jursik showed by trying to circumvent the court order.

The good news is that I have learned that some of the more honest supervisors have learned of this and are going to present  a resolution later this week to remove the poison pill language from the originally passed one so that good faith can be restored again.

I would humbly suggest to those supervisors that they also include language to pay the workers for 2011 to avoid further interest and penalties.

I would also strongly urge them to add the amendment for Supervisor Jursik to pay the last month's interest of about $35,000 out of her own pocket. I know that between her salary and her income from her private law practice that she's got enough to cover it. Then maybe, just maybe, she will start being more careful with the taxpayers money.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure she was only following ALEC protocol, and you can't blame a puppet for doing what she's ordered to do by her handlers.