PEOPLE-Local 645

  • Quality of Life Alliance

Walker Continues To Blockade County Audit of BHD

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on October 6, 2010

Last week, we relayed the information that Walker’s private attorney and corporation counsel were refusing to release a 2008 report regarding safety at the mental health complex.

Walker, while trying to distance himself from this obstructionism, goes on to defend it:

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker sought to distance himself Tuesday from a decision by county lawyers to withhold a 2008 consultant’s report on the Mental Health Complex from the county auditor.

Walker nevertheless defended the decision and said enough other ongoing studies and investigations into problems at the complex would come up with solutions without the 2008 report being released.

This isn’t the only problematic statement issued by Walker.  Later in the same article:

“I don’t know what’s in it, so it’s hard for me to say” if it should be released, Walker said. His administration had nothing to do with the report being withheld, Walker said.

[…]

“There’s obviously a reason why the corporation counsel feels they don’t want it released,” Walker said. “They believe they needed the information (withheld) for a pending legal action.”

[…]

Walker said he learned of the report’s existence about two weeks ago from Geri Lyday, interim director of the county’s Department of Heath and Human Services.

Walker told reporters following a campaign speech Tuesday that County Board Chairman Lee Holloway wanted the report kept quiet. Holloway couldn’t be reached for comment.

[…]

Heer has said he wants the report because it might shed light on patient safety practices at the Mental Health Complex. Heer has said he was told the report was subject to attorney-client confidentiality and that as auditor he wasn’t the client. Walker said the county was the client.

My, but don’t all these contradictions and evasions raise all sorts of questions?

If Walker does not know what is in the report, how does he know that the lawyers supposedly want it held because of a pending legal action (which has never been filed in Court).

Another question would be, if the letter is so devastating that they don’t want to release it, how could Walker not know that it even existed for two years?

And considering that Mr. Heer is the County Auditor, how is he not considered to be part of the client, which Walker said is the County?

It is also rather odd that Walker would state that County Board Chairman Lee Holloway doesn’t want the report released, since it was Holloway that ordered the audit.

It should also be noted that Walker claims that had nothing to do with ordering the report withheld, and that he is unable to order it released, but the way he did is also rather odd:

Walker said he had nothing to do with ordering the consultant’s report. He said he couldn’t simply call for the report’s release now or he’d be in conflict with state law and county ordinances barring a county executive’s interference in the operation of the county corporation counsel’s office.

First of all, Walker has never hesitated putting influence on corporation counsel before, and that statute, if it exists, would not apply to the private attorney that he had hired to also represent BHD.

Secondly, the fact that a county auditor has never been denied access to information in 30 years, makes it all the more suspicious that he is being denied access to this report at this time.

Odds are that the report would be more damaging to Walker’s campaign that it would be to the County, per se, which is why he is continuing to stonewall its release.

Again, we have a county executive showing more concern for his own political and personal aspirations than for the common good of the County and its most vulnerable citizens.  Walker should be ashamed of himself for continuing to play politics with people’s safety and lives.

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