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  • Quality of Life Alliance

Walker Caught In A Web Of His Own Lies

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on October 6, 2010

As was noted last night, Scott Walker was being very evasive regarding a report from 2008 not being released to County Auditor Jerome Heer.  He was being so evasive as to make a number of questionable and self-contradictory statements.

For example, even though the County paid $80,000 for this report, and that the report had to do with the investigation of woman who was allowed to starve to death while at the mental health complex, Walker claims to never have read it.  However, despite his self-report of negligence as county executive, he then indicated he knew what was in said report and supported not releasing it to the auditor.

Another questionable statement was Walker claiming that Board Chairman Lee Holloway did not want the report released, even though it was Holloway who ordered the audit in the first place.

Today, the Board reacted to Walker’s malfeasance.

Supervisor Theo Lipscomb sent out the following press release:

“The Walker Administration was directed by the County Board in 2007 to study the issue of patient safety at the Mental Health Complex due to a trend of increasing violence. The Administration in 2008 assured the County Board that they were tackling the issue. Their primary strategy – staff training – this is the same remedy that they said was the key to resolving concerns when news of serious incidents once again came to light in early 2010.

“The Administration has developed a pattern of neglect and denial of responsibility.

“In 2008, a private Attorney hired by the Administration commissioned a report on safety issues at the Mental Health Complex. At least $80,000 was spent on that report, but the Administration kept the report quiet for over 2 years. Recently, the County Auditor discovered the existence of the report as part of his investigation into the Mental Health Complex, but he was stonewalled in his attempt to review it. The County Executive maintains that he has not seen the report and does not know what is in it, but it is Walker’s duty to know – he is responsible for the operation of the Mental Health Complex.

“The County Executive recently waited for public outrage before taking action. After months of inaction, he demoted an administrator just days after a Journal Sentinel article chronicled details that he should have known. The facts didn’t change, but public perception compelled Walker to do something, anything, in an attempt to put the issue behind him.

Case closed?

Not so fast!

“Today, Chairman Holloway called for a special meeting of the Committee on Judiciary, Safety, and General Services to review this issue. It is time for the Walker Administration to tell us what is in the secret report that they have kept hidden from view. What should we have known 2 years ago, and what are they going to do to ensure patient safety?”

In a report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Holloway confirms that he is calling for the special session.  He also confirmed that Walker was being less than honest:

Milwaukee County Board Chairman Lee Holloway lashed out Wednesday at County Executive Scott Walker’s handling of a mental health report that’s been withheld from the county auditor.

Holloway said Walker was trying to “play” him by suggesting Holloway was blocking release of a 2008 consultant’s report on the county’s Mental Health Complex.

“You have attempted to use me in a way that I will not allow to stand,” Holloway wrote in a memo to Walker.

Walker told reporters Tuesday that Holloway wanted the report kept quiet. Heer has sought the report in connection with his investigation into patient safety at the Mental Health Complex.

Walker said Wednesday his remarks had been misconstrued.

But instead of finally taking ownership of his lies and of the problems at the mental health complex, Walker instead chose to start spinning a whole new web by saying he was “unaware” that Disability Rights – Wisconsin was have difficulty in getting reports and other documents released to them.

It is difficult to believe, considering that this problem was reported in the news a full month ago:

Investigators from Disability Rights Wisconsin, the agency designated by the state as patient ombudsman, are also reviewing the records and said they had been frustrated with the failure by the division to provide the records they had requested.

Disability Rights has authority under state law to investigate reports of patient abuse, including the right to review normally confidential patient care records. Federal law otherwise imposes strict limitations on disclosure of patient records unless a particular patient authorizes the release.

Barbara Beckert, director of the agency’s Milwaukee office, said the requested records were key to her agency’s investigation. Though she had previously said the group’s final report would likely be released in September, she said Tuesday that was now in doubt because of stalling by the county.

“It has caused a delay in terms of our report,” she said.

Perhaps if Walker paid a modicum of attention to the job he is being overpaid for, Milwaukee County wouldn’t be having nearly the amount of problems that it currently has.

Instead, we have an absentee executive, a mental health complex which is utterly unsafe for patients and staff alike, and bills that will take generations to pay off.   This is not leadership.  This is malfeasance and gross negligence.

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