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You Get What You Pay For

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on April 14, 2010

From Milwaukee County First:

Even though it is only a month old, it appears that Milwaukee County First’s Survival Guide to Scott Walker’s Courthouse might need to be updated.

Both the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and  Today’s TMJ4 are reporting that there are already problems with the new private security guards that Walker hired on the pretense of saving money.

At the beginning of March, Walker laid off all of Milwaukee County’s security guards and gave a contract to Wackenhut, even though this company has been doing a terrible job providing security for our buses, has a history of ripping off governments and for hiring murderers and other assorted thugs.

The latest problem to develop is that a supervisor of the private agency’s security guards is a convict.  From the paper’s story:

Wegener was chief of the Manawa police department in 2004 when he pleaded no contest to the misdemeanors. Wegener worked for that department for 13 years, said James Madlom, a spokesman for Wackenhut. Wegener served 90 days in jail with work-release privileges on the misdemeanors.

TMJ4 has a slightly different version:

Wegener works for Wackenhut Security Services, a big international firm, which took over security at the courthouse last month. However, back in 2004, Wegener resigned as chief of police in Manawa, Wisconsin amid scandal — accused of making repeated unwanted sexual advances towards on-duty male officers after pressuring them to drink beer and watch pornography at his home. Wegener plead no contest to five misdemeanors, including disorderly conduct, and spent three months in jail.

It should be noted that when the TV reporter went for the finger pointing part of the story, Walker really put his foot into it:

“He can’t deflect his responsibility,” said Sup. Thomas. “He’s responsible for making sure that Wackenhut does a good job, and obviously he just looked at the savings instead of the safety.”

Walker’s spin is a bit different.

“Had this come up with someone who was employed by the County, we would be stuck under Wisconsin law,” Walker said. “Because it’s a private firm, we can tell them we want somebody else brought in, and that solves our problem.”

Walker is flat out lying.

First of all, if the security operations was still under county control, Wegener would have had to go through a background check that would have prevented him from being hired in the first place.

Secondly, there have been stories of two different correction officers being arrested for sexual assault of a child, and neither one of them work for the county any longer.

Walker’s privatization of the security guards was nothing more than a cynical and calculated political stunt that he believed would enhance his political aspirations, and yet it is the Milwaukee County citizens that will have to pay for his incompetence for years to come and in more ways than one.


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