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Lying Out Of Both Sides Of His Mouth

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on June 28, 2009

As I was catching up on my reading, I saw the final edition of the article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Unsurprisingly, it was chock full of errata and lies. The most telling was this passage:

Walker has said that he may be forced to resort to layoffs if the arbitrator in the current case limits the furloughs.

“If he rules we can only do it for four weeks, we’ll do it for four weeks,” Walker said. He expected the arbitrator to at least allow four-week furloughs because of a similar ruling in 2005.

The furloughs would save the county up to $6.8 million over a full year, according to county budget staff.

Walker said the shorter workweek is preferable to layoffs because he can reinstate hours as early as next month if the budget numbers improve.

Deputies, jailers and hospital workers would be exempt from the furloughs. County supervisors, with the exception of Joe Sanfelippo, have not agreed to take a pay cut that would be comparable to the income lost by other county workers.

I had to read that part over several times. In the first cited paragraph, Walker is claiming that four weeks of furlough isn’t enough, and that he screwed up the budget so bad that he needs to do layoffs. Then, three paragraphs later, he said that furloughs are better because he could reinstate the hours in one month if the budget numbers improve.

Which one is it? Did he foul things up so bad that people need to lose their jobs? Or did he screw it up just enough that four weeks of furloughs will correct it? Of course, we already know the truth, and that is their is no real deficit to speak of, and definitely not one big enough to be called a crisis.

Likewise, the furloughs would not save the $6.8 million he is claiming.  It would save a lot less than that due to the lost revenue that would come with the furloughs.

The article also fails to mention that along with deputies, correction officers and front line staff at the mental health clinic, Walker has also given exemption to the zoo workers, parks and freeway workers, due to the potential lost revenue.  I also learned on Friday that he gave the nurses union anexemption from the furlough in exchange for them giving up two minor holidays in November.  (Minor holidays are floating holidays which can be used on that day or saved for up to six months.  In this case, the days are Veteran’s Day and the day after Thanksgiving.)  To top it off, the nurses get all or part of those days back, depending on what happens from the arbitration ruling.

How bad is this supposed deficit if he will accept 16 hours of holiday pay instead of 130 hours which he wants to impose on the rest of the workers?

On a side note, it is rather sad that this story was written by two different reporters, and neither one of them caught the errors or conflicting statements.   Either the reporters are worse than anyone thought, or it is just more proof against the myth of there being a “liberal media.”


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