Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The Smell of Patronage in Wisconsin

From Alternet:

Since taking office in January, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has stripped public workers of their collective bargaining rights, proposed wage cuts to local government employees, and insisted that his “state is broke” and that its public workers are overpaid. But Walker applies a different standard to himself.

Today, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reveals that Walker is using state funds to pay more than $81,500 a year to the 26-year-old son of a major campaign donor with no college degree and two drunken-driving convictions.

Walker is about as subtle as a freight train. The goal of this crowd is to eliminate the unions, farm state jobs to privateers (who would conveniently just happen to be cronies and donors), and then to save the plum jobs to use as rewards for patronage.

In the coming months, we may be seeing more cases of Brian Deschanes. The anti-union law Walker signed last month also included provisions that would convert more than thirty-seven civil service positions into political appointees chosen by the Governor.

Yes, just like that. The hype over cost saving measures is just a pageant being enacted to confuse the uninformed.

Even more scathing is the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel pointing out that despite having absolutely no background or education for the position, he was not only hired, but promoted, and given a raise of over $16,000 after being there only for a few months.

He's overseeing regulatory and environmental issues for the Wisconsin Dept. of Commerce. What could possibly go wrong with having that position go to an unqualified patronage appointment?

That's where the story ended when I wrote it on Tuesday. There has been a new development:

From the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel :

Starting Wednesday, the younger Deschane will return to his job as a bureau director at the state Department of Regulation and Licensing, a post he took in mid-January at an annual salary of $64,728. His promotion led to a 26% increase in his pay.

Yup, he got demoted. One can logically assume that this is a direct result of the uproar over the original story, of an unqualified son of a donor getting a cushy job.

These are the people that Deschane beat out for the job:

The first, Oscar Herrera, is a former state cabinet secretary under Republican Gov. Scott McCallum with a doctoral degree and eight years' experience overseeing the cleanup of petroleum-contaminated sites.

The second, Bernice Mattsson, is a professional engineer who served since 2003 in the post to which Deschane was appointed.


Before Walker's office announced Deschane's demotion, Assembly Democrats on Tuesday criticized the appointment as cronyism and offered an amendment to cut the job of administrator at the Department of Commerce's Division of Environmental and Regulatory Services.

That, combined with the story going viral around the country, is most likely what motivated Walker to attempt to dial back his cronyism, so that the volume isn't quite as high.

It seems Governor Walker isn't the noble slayer of budget dragons that he claimed.

cross-posted at MainSt/workingamerica.org

1 comment:

DissedBelief said...

Many Republicans enjoy rolling their eyebrows and chuckling at events in countries around the world such as Africa, where individuals like Mugabe reign and hold power by engaging in fear and nepotism. Since 2000 the Republicans have come to mirror banana republic despots, with nothing to offer in the way of dialogue and debate and plenty to offer in way of immature ramblings that border only on the hysterical and nonsensical. Banana Repulicans who can only think of war, shutting down government and removal of civil liberties to contain and hold onto power. Sounds like facism to me.