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Scott Walker Needs To Take Responsibility For His Policies And Their Consequences

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on August 28, 2010

From Milwaukee County First:

A press release we issued today:

In 2006, a series of articles in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel uncovered how Scott Walker had failed our most vulnerable citizens.  Due to his budget cuts, mentally ill people were being forced to live in squalid, unsafe and sometimes deadly conditions.  Things had gotten so bad that the City of Milwaukee had to step up to help resolve the issues.

In 2008, it was found that Scott Walker, again under the pretense of saving tax payer money, failed to fully staff the call center of the Income Maintenance Program, even though the country was heading into a severe recession.  To resolve a class action lawsuit based on the County’s inability to help people in need, the State of Wisconsin had to take over the entire program.  This has already cost Milwaukee tax payers millions of dollars.

Now, in 2010, we are seeing how Scott Walker’s policies are again failing to protect our most vulnerable citizens in the horrible stories coming from the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division.

Due to budget cuts and staffing shortages, the human costs of Scott Walker’s policies include scores of patient-on-patient sexual assaults (which led to at least one pregnancy), at least five suicides, one death and one near death from starvation, numerous physical assaults on patients and staff, and an untold number of patients running away.  His policies have led to both staff members and patients expressing strong feelings of being unsafe while at the complex.

Other results of Walker’s cots saving measures led up to allowing the accreditation to lapse, extremely high turnover among the staff, and the facility was found to be in “shoddy condition.”

On top of the human costs, it is questionable whether Walker’s money saving measures actually saved any money.  It has been estimated that it would cost as much as $15 million to bring the building up to standard for the moment.  This does not include the fact that County will have to purchase or build a new facility soon.

Tax  payers are also on the hook for the excessive amount of overtime (which stems from staffing shortages and furloughs), the cost related to  the care of the child, the costs of investigations by the Sheriff’s Office, court costs, and a myriad of lawsuits stemming from his failure to protect these poor people.

“Scott Walker’s management style is like a one-trick pony that doesn’t even perform the trick very well,” said Chris Liebenthal, Chair of Milwaukee County First. “He has repeatedly failed our most vulnerable citizens and others in need under the disguise of being fiscally responsible.  However, his policies are not responsible, fiscally or otherwise.”

“But Walker really adds insult to injury when he does not even take responsibility for the consequences of his failed policies,” continued Liebenthal.  “Our vulnerable citizens and tax payers would both benefit if Walker would stop the political gimmickry and actually show some real leadership. The first step to that is if Walker would finally take ownership of the problems he has created.”


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