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Milwaukee County Board Sells Our Jobs, Safety To The Lowest Bidder

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on May 28, 2010

From Milwaukee County First:

During Thursday’s meeting of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, one of the items on their agenda was whether to privatize the transportation of inmates.    The County Board chose to do so, authorizing Sheriff David Clarke to contract with G4S Wackenhut.

The County Board chose to do so despite the poor history of Wackenhut in providing security on the Milwaukee County Transit System.  The board also chose to ignore the problems that have occurred when  County Executive privatized the security at the Courthouse and other county buildings.  They also chose to ignore that Wackenhut was shipping people in from all over the state and from all over the country to fill these positions.

Supervisor Pat Jursik said that she “received assurances” from the Sheriff that there would be no danger to the public safety.  Of course, this is the same sheriff who had inmates escape from his jail and failed to recognize a drunk driver when helping him from a snow bank.

The County Board also told that the projected savings were about $600,000 a year, which comes out to be only 67 cents for each man, woman and child in Milwaukee County.

With the unemployment rate in Milwaukee County still hovering above 9%, it is hard to fathom why they would choose to give away these jobs to people from who knows where with who knows what kind of history.

And I cannot imagine anyone who would be willing to trade their safety or the safety of their loved ones for pocket change.  To highly their absurdity, Supervisor Joe Sanfelippo claimed that Wackenhut had “hardly any escapes.”  Is that supposed to make us feel better?  I doubt people will care what their past record is when it is their safety that is in danger.

The fact that these guards will be receiving low salaries and little or no benefits makes it all the more likely that they would be willing to supplement their income by bringing in contraband, or maybe even letting an inmate escape.  When Walker privatized the food service at the House of Correction, they did not save a lot of money since they had to bring in extra officers to monitor the kitchens due to the high amount of contraband the private agency workers were bringing into the facility.

The decision that was made by the nine members of the Board that approved this bill shows what little regard they hold for their constituents and for the people of Milwaukee County in general.


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