Friday, April 07, 2006

Important Post on Milwaukee County Pension Scandal

Jim McGuigan at Watchdog Milwaukee has a really informative post up that provides some important background on the pension scandal from Milwaukee County.

Although most people still think it was the county board and executive that made the deal scandalous, Jim makes a strong case that the real culprits were county personnel director Gary Dobbert and the actuaries at Mercer Human Resource Accounting.

And a recent lawsuit filed by the county against Mercer backs up Jim's argument.

The post at Watchdog Milwaukee is lengthy, but well worth the read.

This is an issue that is only going to heat up in the future. And if it doesn't, you can chalk it up as another missed opportunity for the Dems.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seth,

This article was terrible. Weishan may as well have his paycheck signed by Rich Abelson. I've been to many a committee hearing where other supervisors tell the crowd that DC 48 doesn't care a bit about the County's fiscal duress because they're looking out more for their long-time employees rather than the newer employees who will certainly be laid off it their demands are met.

While his sister was a great public servant, Weishan serves almost no purpose on the board other than to serve as a mouthpiece for the Unions. This is a man who complained to DAS staff that they should have budgeted for pension reform studies, only to be told that the budget for which he voted included funds for exactly that. He's also said he'd rather pay $20 a month extra in insurance premiums than pay $20 when he visits the doctor. Either he visits the doctor 13 times a year or he's fiscally incompetent.

The article goes far off into tinfoil hat land when it tries to paint the Journal Sentinel as a Walker mouthpiece. I almost fell out of my chair when I read that.

Seth, will taxes ever be high enough for you and people like you?

April 13, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

What I liked about the post was how it sheds light on the importance of the lawsuit filed against Mercer. I could care less about John Weishan.

And there's an economic and political side to the pension deal's legacy. The economic side is obvious--$100 million (or even half that) would be a great help for the county.

But the lawsuit is also important politically because it shifts at least some of the blame for the pension deal off the county board. We can certainly disagree to what extent, but it's clear the supervisors were misled by Mercer.

And it was Charlie Sykes & Co. that took full advantage of the pension deal politically when it went down. They saw it as an opportunity to hit "tax and spend" Dems at the knees, and they took it. And they haven't felt at all hesitant about going back to that well repeatedly since, referencing the deal whenever they want "proof" that governments are selfish and wasteful with money.

If the lawsuit in any way shifts blame away from the board, it would subsequently deplete the political sails of Sykes & Co. on the issue. It'll no longer be the watershed moment they made it out to be.

And wondering if taxes will ever be high enough for me is nonsense. It's like me asking whether public services will ever be depleted enough for you. Raising taxes isn't my goal, just like I'm sure stripping the public of needed services isn't your goal.

April 13, 2006  
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