Wednesday, July 18, 2018

GOOD LORD We Need A New Health Commissioner!

Here are just the first ten reasons why Milwaukee needs a new Commissioner of Health.

1) Interim Commissioner Patricia McManus has released a draft plan to tackle the lead disaster only to the state. She won’t let the public see the plan. Simultaneously, she is saying she can’t get her work done (it took her six months to even issue even a draft plan), and that the city won’t give her files to get her work done. The best she could come up with in six months was that they need “very strict protocols?” They had those already.  They clearly didn’t follow them. Once the public can see this plan it had better contain a much more substantive process, given it’s the only tangible item she’s produced in six months. She applied for multiple extensions from the state. Our guess? The plan is pretty short on meaningful change.

2) McManus claimed in a Journal-Sentinel article on July 4 that “…It’s a matter of being uncomfortable with having people of color run things that they never have before” which is a strange comment. How can she have amnesia about who had that job before her for 13 years? Maybe somebody with connections at the health department can find out the vacancy rate under Baker vs. McManus?

3) How much of McManus’s plan to "clean up" the health department includes firing staff and replacing them with cronies with no health training? Why are there still no performance evaluations being done at MHD?  She’s clearly upset that she can’t just outright fire people with no due process. Watch this word salad and see if you can make sense of it. Is it the system? The managers? The dysfunction? Look between 2:03-2:05, give or take.

4) The selection of the new Commissioner of Health IS NOT the mayor’s pick. The decision was made by Common Council members themselves (2:06, video above).  But McManus and local activists, in an attempt to keep her around in this role longer, will continue to paint this individual (who has a PhD and an MPH) as undesirable because “the mayor picked her.”  Thanks to Alderwoman Lewis’ explanation, it’s pretty clear to see this is not up to the mayor.

5) How badly do you have to be running a department to lose 12 managers in six months?  Somebody please start finding these people and ask them about their experiences. It will be enlightening.

6) Twice on McManus’s watch, and because of Tasha Jenkins’ decisions on the program, poor women have not been able to get cervical or breast cancer screenings.  McManus recently lied to the Journal Sentinel, saying seeing it in the newspaper is the first she’d ever heard of it.  Funny, because she was at the Finance and Personnel Committee on June 13 talking about it in detail before lying to the newspaper, saying she never heard a thing about it. Check her out at about 2:15 at the video link. See if you can make sense of this—it’s the state’s fault, it’s Kenosha’s fault—you get the routine.  The bottom line is that hundreds of poor women went without screenings TWICE on McManus’s watch. 

7) Why have so many people had to retain lawyers under her leadership?  Many of these people will successfully sue the city for harassment, toxic work environment, and intimidation.  McManus will claim this is “reverse discrimination”, saying it’s about racism, but harassment and intimidation don’t have a reverse. All of these people worked for Commissioner Baker, so some of them likely outlasted their last Black boss who was there for 13 years. As long as the public somehow doesn’t know the Commissioner Baker was a black man, this works. But who doesn’t know that?

8) She has let several large federal funding opportunities slip by on her watch. Millions of dollars that only health departments/programs would be eligible for, that she left on the table, and she didn’t even bother applying for. Milwaukee is one of the most poorly funded health departments in the country compared to need, and somehow it will be even worse off when she finally leaves. And that’s before the city has to settle the lawsuits.  All told, we aren’t going to get out of this for under $5 million, but considering the opportunity cost of the funding that we might have received, it’s probably higher.

9) McManus went from protesting the idea of being appointed, to being appointed but saying that she would only stay while they looked for someone else, to getting angry if people called her “interim”, to now insisting on staying to “finish her work”—again we ask—what work?  The lead plan nobody can see?

10) Anybody who is betting on McManus actually helping their case to oust Barrett is as delusional as the people who watched her more than a month ago saying she knew all about the Well Woman Program being discontinued and then saying she knew nothing about it a few weeks later. It's time to stop pretending you don't know what's going on, Milwaukee elected officials. 

It’s pretty certain that McManus will claim that any attempt to usher in a change in leadership is racism, but let’s take a look at who she replaced and who is the nominee to replace to her to check how accurate that is.  Come on, Common Council. Get it together. It’s time. Somebody, DO something.

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