At the same time, that Walker was crying budgetary wolf, he was also handing out lavish raises to his cronies and yes men:
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker wants a 26% pay raise for his chief of staff, former Ald. Tom Nardelli, while bypassing traditional County Board approval in quietly issuing large pay raises over the summer to several other top aides.At the same time, he was also laying off workers and demanding excessive concessions from workers, he was taking an automatic raise. And that's not counting the $50,000 raise he gave himself by breaking yet another campaign promise.
Nardelli would get the biggest pay increase of top-tier county officials, a nearly $20,000 raise to $95,000 a year. Seven county administrators also scored increases of up to 12.5%.
Some supervisors are upset about being left out of the decision-making process for many of the raises and say Walker's timing couldn't be worse. Heavily rewarding a few top managers while Walker puts final touches on a 2009 budget that's expected to call for scores of layoffs of union workers sends a message of callous disregard, critics of the raises say.
Among the other big winners among Walker's top aides was Mitchell International Airport Director Barry Bateman. His pay rises $13,595, or 11%, to $136,299 a year. Facilities Management Director Jack Takerian got an $11,771 (12.5%) raise, to nearly $106,000.
Given that sordid history and complete disregard for the truth, recent events were no big surprise to me.
Walker announced today that he was again going to stick it to the workers. Only a few months after he cut their pay by hundreds of dollars a month - all so he could give tax breaks to his campaign donors - Walker decreed that state workers would not get a raise for at least the next two years.
As you absorb that tidbit, please remember that we already knew that he had been rewarding his cronies and yes men by appointing them to political positions, often at a much higher pay rate than their predecessors had been making.
To exacerbate this issue, via both Jake and Man MKE, it is noted that Walker is giving himself a $7,500 raise. Not only is he being overly generous to himself, but he is also lavishing the love on some of his top henchmen like Becky Kleefisch, JB Van Hollen and Mike Huebsch. You can see it all in this chart which can be found in the Statement of Benefits (Section B, page 5).:
I wonder who told him this was going to be a smart move with the recall about to start in just a few weeks. Nothing like adding fuel to the fire. He is either feeling very assured that the Koch Brothers will be able to buy his seat back from the people again or he's just not very bright. While we already know the latter is true, I suspect that the real answer is both.
And if this pillaging of the working people of this state weren't enough, he also changed the rules about how state workers are going to be allowed raises, if that ever happens again under his regime.
Instead of having a worker's performance evaluated by their supervisor, all raises are going to go through the Office of the State Employment Relations. This flies in the face of Walker's talk about raises being done on a merit system. Raises, as well as scheduling and assigning overtime, will be solely based on cronyism and who toes the party line instead of their actual job performance.
I have no doubt that they will also be monitoring any extracurricular activity to make sure that the workers are being good boys and girls. Say anything disparaging about Walker or the Republicans on Facebook or Twitter and there goes your raise or your vacation request.
This sort of bullying has become a trademark for Walker and the Republicans. Never did it cross their minds that if they had actually done their jobs by creating jobs instead of the full blown effort to turn Wisconsin into a corporate state, they wouldn't have had to resort to such base behavior.
But that's OK. Once we oust them from office, they'll have plenty of time to think about where they went wrong.