Friday, January 25, 2013

The Costly County Executives

One of the straw men that the plutocrats and their sycophants are using to try to con people in supporting their take over of Milwaukee County is that the county supervisors pay is too damn high.  

Never mind that the supervisors pay is on par with every other county in the state - about $1 per person represented.  And never mind that Milwaukee County is the only county in the state with a Class A city, an international airport, a world-renowned zoo, the beautiful art museum, the mental health complex and the House of Correction.  And never mind that other states, like Minnesota, have supervisors getting paid nearly twice as much for doing less.

It's the Milwaukee County Board that has to be punished.  It's the Milwaukee County Board that's too damn expensive.

Funny thing is, if the plutocrats get their way, they'll be saving about $5 million dollars.  That's a little less than what the county is going to be paying out for just one of Scott Walker's political stunts.

As I have repeatedly written about, Walker was gearing up for his gubernatorial campaign by showing he was being tough on the workers, especially us AFSCME thugs.  So he set up an artificially constructed deficit in his 2010 budget, and went through a phony dog and pony show claiming that the unions wouldn't offer concessions to balance the budget problem he created.  

Since the unions couldn't make the concessions even if they wanted to, Walker forced county workers to take mandatory furlough days.  Some, like the deputy sheriffs, got eight days of furloughs.  They were the lucky ones.

Others, including yours truly, had to take 26 days of furlough.  

In 2011, we had to take another 13 days.

Long story short, the furloughs were not only excessive, but they were illegal.

Last August, the county paid out the 2010 furloughs to a tune of $4.5 million.  

I have learned that in three weeks, the county will be paying out the rest of the furlough days, the overtime pay that was lost and adjusting the pensions of the retirees.

The total for this new payout will be in the area of $1.5 million.

That's $6 million for just one of Walker's stunts.  

Of course, it could have been a lot less if current county executive, Chris Abele, and Joe Sanfelippo, who is the sockpuppet for the GMC takeover, had not refused to negotiate with the unions, who were willing to give up part of the payouts as well as make other concessions.

This also does not include the myriad of lawsuits that have been filed against the county for things like wrongful deaths at the mental health complex, the collapse of the O'Donnell Park garage's facade and at the House of Correction.

It should be pointed out that Walker isn't the only expensive county executive Milwaukee County has ever had.

Abele, who is pushing for the takeover in the name of "efficiency," had wanted to give his aides and cabinet members half a million dollars in "merit bonuses."  Abele also wanted to pay someone more than a $100,000 for a position of "initiative policy specialist."  If that's not a made up job, I don't know what is.

And in less than two years, Abele has squandered millions of dollars in an effort to earn his teahadist credentials with illegal maneuvers in the budget.  Each time he touches employee benefits that are property assets, like the pension, it costs half a million dollars to change it, untold thousands to fight it out in court and another half a million to change it back.

And since I mentioned the pension, who could forget that the biggest cost of them all, the pension scandal, rests firmly at the feet of former county executive Tom Ament.

If these plutocrats were really concerned about saving taxpayer money, they would be going after the real cost makers, the county executive's office.  Since they're not only not going after the executive, but are trying to fool people that he will save them money, it's obvious that cost control is nothing but a straw man in expensive clothing.

1 comment:

  1. Can citizens file suit against GMC and Abele for their misappropriation of tax dollars and county property as well as conspiracy to commit fraud? There has to be something. I think we should recall Abele. I am sure there would be bipartisan support.