Abele's tantrum was enough that he once again went to his Teapublican allies in the state legislature to strip the board of any oversight authority over the mental health system. Instead, the fate of the patients will rest on a panel of political appointees and the heads of the companies that will be profiteering from Abele's abdication to the patients of the hospital.
The proponents of this power grab said that it was to take the system from politicians. No, really.
In an effort to justify his abdication and auctioning off of the mental health system, Abele used a report issued by the advocacy group, Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW).
The report in itself was the subject of great controversy. County board supervisors accused the group of violating patients' confidentiality and that the report was kept secret from them for months in order to advance their political agenda:
Disability Rights Wisconsin was accused by irate county supervisors of violating patient confidentiality laws, of playing politics and working to wrest control of the complex from the county, during a meeting of the County Board's health committee.Abele and his pet Teapublcans ignored this issue, blowing it off as an example of how overreaching the board could be.
Supervisor John Weishan Jr. accused the rights group of conducting a media campaign "to slander our system so you can fulfill your strategy of a state takeover" of the complex.
A concern of supervisors was why Disability Rights Wisconsin did not include the County Board when it secretly sent its report on patient safety last June to County Executive Chris Abele and two county health administrators, as well as state and federal regulators.
Corporation Counsel Paul Bargren also faulted the group for disseminating the report earlier this month, after the Journal Sentinel first reported on it Jan 14.
"This constitutes a grave breach by DRW of its statutory, ethical and contractual patient confidentiality obligations," Bargren wrote in a Jan. 20 letter.
Turns out that the Board was right on the button. Again.
Bargren had written to Scott Walker to express his concerns about the report. Surprisingly, Walker responded. Even more surprisingly, he agreed that there needs to be an investigation into DRW and their report:
It's anybody's guess where this matter might lead. Just like his protege Abele, Walker is not one to be trusted. After all, Walker is the one that used this report to claim that the mental health system was like a "natural disaster" while totally ignoring the role he played in ruining the system. Now he is saying that he agrees that it might be faulty?
My prediction is that it will be found faulty only if it doesn't reflect poorly on him. If he would get painted in a even worse picture than he's painting for himself, then nothing will be found with the report.
It's also worth noting that the report focused on the deaths that occurred at the mental health complex in 2012, while Abele was administrating the facility.
That's significant because it shows that two consecutive county executives brought the system into ruins.
Yet it is the Board, which had no control over the operations of the facility, outside of setting basic policy and the budget. Yet it is the Board - along with the patients and the taxpayers - who are being punished for Walker's and Abele's misdeeds.