Home / News / Expresso / Issue of the Week: Scott Walker’s Courthouse Security Privatization: Epic Fail
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Issue of the Week: Scott Walker’s Courthouse Security Privatization: Epic Fail

Plus Hero and Jerk of the Week

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When Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker announced that privatizing security at the courthouse and other county facilities would save taxpayers more than $750,000 a year, it seemed preposterous.

And it was.

According to new numbers crunched by the county’s audit department, the county will save an estimated $411,000 per year from outsourcing some of its security to global giant G4S Wackenhut.

But the savings in 2010 are even less than that revised estimate: about $125,000.

Why? Because during the two-week “transition” period, county taxpayers were footing the bill for three security teams: county-employed security staff, sheriff’s deputies (overtime costs ran to $29,000) and Wackenhut employees (an estimated $41,679). The county is also responsible for paying unemployment compensation for the displaced workers, who are now trying to find work during a recession. Even worse, the Wackenhut employee in charge of this team has now been removed, since he had five misdemeanor convictions in 2004.

These privatization efforts often have many downsides, including a decrease in the quality of products or services. So unless there is a significant cost savings, it is seldom worth it. With that understanding, Walker inflates the upside so as to gain political support.

While the savings aren’t chump change, the numbers aren’t nearly what Walker had promised from the outset. And, as seen in his annual budget proposals, it’s not the first time that Walker’s plans don’t pan out once reality hits.

We hear that Walker will offer more privatization plans in the next few months. We figure that these so-called deals will be just as bad as this too-good-to-be-true Wackenhut scheme.

Heroes of the Week

Serve 60’s Milwaukee Volunteers

Founded in Milwaukee by L. Maxwell McKissick, Serve 60 promotes and facilitates volunteerism at the local, national and international levels.

Serve 60 matches those who wish to make a positive difference with nonprofits in need of volunteers. Locally, Sarena Goldstein, Andrea Mnuk and Bob, Mark and Patty Natzke all utilized Serve 60’s “volunteer matchmaking” service to join a group from the First Lutheran Church of Gainesville, Fla., that traveled to impoverished areas of Nicaragua. The group worked to construct houses, arrange medical care for infants and families in need, and purchase food for the hungry.

For more information on volunteer opportunities, visit www.serve60.com.

Jerk of the Week

State Sen. Jeff Plale (D-Milwaukee)

TheCapital Times called Sen. Jeff Plale’s latest shenanigans “deregulation without representation.” Just as Plale championed cable deregulation that hasn’t lowered anyone’s cable bills—as he had promised it would—Plale is now trying to “reform” the phone industry so it doesn’t have to deal with those pesky state regulations that protect consumers. And, not surprisingly, state records show that huge phone companies like AT&T and TDS had a hand in drafting the bill. Time and time again, Plale fails to represent the best interests of his constituents and chooses instead to represent the wealthy special interests that generously shower him with campaign contributions.

Clarification

Last week Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) purchased a sticker for the cover of the Shepherd Express in which the organization opposed changes to Wisconsin laws regarding the construction of new nuclear power plants. Wisconsin has some of the strongest legislation in the nation concerning the licensing of new nuclear power plant construction, including the need to prove that nuclear waste would be disposed of and stored safely. The sticker opposed two Republican-sponsored bills that would weaken our current standards, which have served Wisconsin very well. So to the many people who contacted us and were concerned, this was not a sticker advocating for more nuclear power.

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