9
January
2007

Walker foot dragging cost taxpayers $8,000,000

seal.jpgA few months ago, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker made a big deal about vetoing the County Supervisor approved budget and how we would never have a labor agreement.  Low and behold, just like the county board said, they have a labor agreement.

The board asked labor to give up enhanced pension benefits for new hires and negotiated in good faith to make sure this happened.  This should have been happening from the office of Walker but Walker didn't hire a labor negotiator for 2 years. 

As Walker dragged his feet an additional 500 employees were hired by Milwaukee County and all of them are eligible for the enhanced pension benefits that Walker decried.  Here's the kicker — the cost of those benefits for people hired over the past few years is over $300,000 per month.

Had Walker not dragged his feet, the county would have saved nearly $8,000,000.

Fortunately, Walker has finally hired a new Director of Labor Relations.  Although he has not yet been confirmed, Greg Gracz will soon take over that post. 

So why would Walker drag his feet?  It was because he was running for Governor.  Walker didn't want to approve an agreement that would give labor anything and if the county wouldn't give at least a modest wage increase, the unions weren't going to give up anything.

County Supervisor John Weishan, one of the few democrats left on the County Board, is frosted over the whole mess. "It just goes to show what a charade his veto was.  We acted responsibly in the budget and we put together a process to save the taxpayers money and it all worked out" said Weishan.

Rewind a few months ago and Walker was bashing the board for approving the budget he himself put together but that the board added amendments to.  Those amendments did things like preserving parks, providing transit service for the most severely disabled and preserving public safety.  When taken alone, Walker didn't want to veto any of those items so he vetoed his own budget in its entirely.

Weishan adds, "Walker said we were all crazy and we would never get labor agreement.  Waa-laa, two weeks later we have a labor agreement that covers 2006, 2007 and 2008." 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Bill Stocks:

    Ouch!

  2. Joshua Taylor:

    Labor relations should always be good to ensure the success of a company..:*

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