Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pretend Plan Won’t Absolve Past Policy

While Scott Walker has been Milwaukee County Executive, it seems that every year or two there is another preventable tragedy at the Mental Health Complex. As Walker's irresponsible budget/staff cuts have had time to sink in, those tragedies have expanded.

  • There was a starvation death, a near starvation and the facility receiving the most serious citations possible by the state.
  • A 50% increase in assaults on staff.
  • We now know that preventable sexual assaults occurred which threatened federal aid.
  • A Walker BHD appointee's screw up put the entire county budget into near chaos.

  • In 2010 (so far) we have at least two long lists of code violations, safety and other issues. Now we are learning that it could cost Milwaukee County taxpayers some $15 million.

  • These tragic results really shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. You only needed to look at Walker's politically motivated policies to see what was coming.

  • In 2001 there were 1,053.1 funded position equivalents. In 2008 that number went down to 890.9 and in his 2010 proposed budget he wanted to put it all the way down to 746.7.
  • In 2001 overtime costs stood at $2,807,027 (or the equivalent of 77.5 positions). After all of these years of drastically cutting staff at BHD, actual overtime in 2008 shot up to $4,719,383 (or the equivalent of 87 positions).
  • I have to imagine that all these overtime costs helped contribute to greater long-term spending. In the 2002 adopted budget, BHD was slotted to have $136,850,224 in expenditures. In the 2009 adopted budget, that number jumped up to $187,598,123.

  • I imagine that Walker and his political cronies are in full damage control mode right now. In the coming days I fully expect him to make some sort of announcement hoping to deflect attention from his never ending mess at BHD. Hopefully the media will not forget one key question: How can we trust any Walker "plans" to correct his problems when his policies helped cause them in the first place? Sorry, a pretend plan will not absolve your past policies.

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