Monday, April 8, 2013

Is Marathon County Meltdown Becoming The Marathon County Cover Up?

Last week, I reported on a tragic incident which occurred in the Marathon County Jail, in which a corrections officer, Julie Christensen, was brutally struck by an inmate and knocked unconscious.  To make the tragedy all the more senseless and outrageous, we have learned that it stems from the acts of austerity by Marathon County Administrator Brad Karger which led to overcrowding and understaffing of the jail.  It was also revealed the Karger had the money to address the issue, but didn't use it.

Christensen is still in critical condition and has been described as "clinging to life."

To resolve the issue, Karger and Chief Deputy Scott Parks are taking only two steps.

One is to finally allow the correction officers to carry tasers, like they've been asking for for years.

The other is to name a citizen panel to "study security conditions at the jail."

At the time, I expressed concern on who would pick and who would be the members of this panel:
And while the citizen panel is a good idea, I would question how it will be decided who will be part of that panel.

If Karger is in charge of it, forget it. He's the idiot that caused this mess and he's already trying to escape accountability for his malfeasance.

The most responsible way to handle this would be to have the County Board appoint the panel, but there should be some voice given to the union, either in selecting some of the panel members or being on the panel itself.
The panel has now been named and, unfortunately, my concerns were well founded.

Parks has named the members of this panel. They are:

Not one union voice was included in the decision making or in the panel itself. Likewise, the County Board was left completely out of the loop.

But, as with all things austerity related, there is more.  There is always more.

It come pretty obvious pretty quickly that Karger and Parks are working together on covering up the effects of their agenda of austerity by appointing these people.

Take a look at what each of them had to say about this panel:
"The intent wasn't to get a panel of experts about jails. What we want is people who are capable of understanding the information presented to them," Marathon County Administrator Brad Karger explained.

[...]

"The correctional facility is a lot like a business, and we're looking to be successful in that business and these individuals bring something to the table to show they've been successful," Parks said.
One of the panel members, Jones, also iterated the business theme.

This automatically puts them on the wrong footing. Prisons are a governmental operation and do not necessarily correlate well with a business paradigm. If they did, we wouldn't have seen all the riots in private prisons in which guards were beaten, raped and/or killed.

The reason that Karger and Parks picked these people instead of experts in jails is that they want their austerity justified and to absolve themselves of their role in Christensen's injuries.

But Parks has another motivation as well.

He has put his name in to replace Sheriff Randy Hoenisch, who had recently retired under suspicious circumstances.  Governor Scott Walker is expected to name the replacement Sheriff in May.  Being a good acolyte of austerity, being dismissive of public workers and making this serious problem just go away would elevate him in Walker's eyes.

For people like Karger, it's all about the money and power, no matter who gets hurt.  Always has been and always will be.

If you wish to help Correction Officer Julie Christensen, there has been a trust fund established in her name at Integrity First Bank, 101 Grand Avenue, Wausau, WI 54403.  Their phone number is  (715) 845-0900.

2 comments:

  1. Not a single person with knowledge, experience or expertise in dealing with populations in a secure custody environment. Not one. I'm sure the LandArt guy is a nice fellow... but what the hell does he know about managing sex offenders or meth lab operators? Then again, maybe a landscaped courtyard at the jail is the answer. And what community-based, problem-solving group isn't complete without a bank president?

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  2. Of course it's a cover up. Karger's main goal is to strip everything from corrections officers and privatize the jail. He took away all accrued sick time, personal days, and raised health care costs to a point that nobody wants to work there. He doesn't care if the jail is understaffed, under paid or who gets hurt. He wants the cheapest, non qualified people he can find to replace officers and there's nothing the unfortunate, dedicated employees can do.

    Appointing these five people is a joke and insulting to the officers and the public. It's like having a Coyote hire five foxes to determine why the chicken was eaten! Ridiculous.

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