Mar 12, 2009

Staff Worried Walker’s Crusade Against JobsSquandering Chance at Recovery

MADISON – Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s crusade against Recovery Act funding for new jobs has resulted in mass ‘controversy’ and ‘dissension’ in the ranks of county government, as staff fear that Walker will squander their chance at economic recovery, according to a new report.

The report, published by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Dave Umhoefer and two other leading reporters, exposes the infighting and controversy that has erupted in MilwaukeeCounty government over Walker’s controversial position.

“Scott Walker’s staff and colleagues in MilwaukeeCounty are turning on him fast, and I don’t blame them,” said Joe Wineke, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “Walker’s inexplicable stance against the Recovery Act is putting the projects and jobs that rightfully belong to MilwaukeeCounty taxpayers at risk of being lost forever.”

According to the Journal Sentinel’s report:

MilwaukeeCounty‘s (stimulus) effort is disorganized and laden with controversy. CountyExecutive Scott Walker and county supervisors are deeply divided. Walker continues to bash the bill, even while his department heads submit project ideas including major repairs of the Courthouse façade. Supervisors are compiling their own wish lists. … Dissension won’t help as the region competes with other parts of the state for its share. (Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: 3.12.09 http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/41157742.html)

Last week, after a new county task force was designed to bypass Walker’s roadblock to new jobs, Walker even threatened to sue his own county board if it crossed him and accepted Milwaukee’s share of the funds. Walker has banned staff from working with the new county task force or with the state Office of Recovery and Reinvestment on any efforts to restart the county’s stalled economy.

“Scott Walker has gone off the deep end, and it’s not surprising that his colleagues in county government are acting in desperation and taking matters into their own hands,” said Wineke.

According to the federal government, funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will create or save 70,000 jobs in Wisconsin, including an estimated 12,000 jobs for Walker’s own constituents in MilwaukeeCounty – jobs Walker is rejecting.