Scott Walker, AWOL from his job and thinking of more cash | Wis.Community

Scott Walker, AWOL from his job and thinking of more cash

The progressive, statistical-minded watchdogs at progressive One Wisconsin Now have done the state's voters another great service by examining how Gov. Scott Walker spends his time. Is he in there in the legislative trenches, fighting to persuade members of his own party to accept his positions? Is he meeting opposition Democrats, looking to find areas of compromise? Is he touring the state to get the pulse of citizens and taxpayers?

Nope. Mostly, he's AWOL, spending the vast majority of his time in office doing other stuff. Like fund-raising in massive amounts for his inevitable recall election. The "money" quote from One Wisconsin Now sums it all up:

Based on the calendars maintained by Gov. Walker's office, released under the state open records law, between August 2011 and January 2012 Gov. Walker was scheduled to spend a grand total of just over 44 hours meeting with legislators or his policy staff or working on an a specific policy issue. Meanwhile, over the same time period, a whopping 614-plus hours were blocked off as "personal" time.

[img_assist|nid=164166|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=300|height=256]How bad is that? The chart at left shows "personal time" in red. Blue shows the time Walker was scheduled to work on legislative matters.

Let's compare.

The Democratic 14 state senators who last year left the state to prevent a blitzkrieg GOP vote on virtually ending collective bargaining for most public employees in Wisconsin, were away a total of about 500 hours. Those three weeks included not just work time but round the clock time hours, including sleeping and eating. And Walker and other Republicans criticized them for their absence from the Capitol, although that absence was a conscious decision to influence public policy, just as US Senate members sometimes stall voting by the use of the filibuster.

Now we know that Walker himself racked up 500 hour of "away" time plus another 100 hours or so in a matter of just a few months. One Wisconsin Now noted that Walker's unspecified "personal" time allotment just about doubled when it became possible for him to begin raising unlimited campaign funds under the state's recall law.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Walker no longer sounds all that interested in his job. As Voices Newspaper Blog noted, "Scott Walker spends remarkably little time working - less than 6 hours and 30 minutes in the months of November & December (2011) and last January (2012)."

Indeed, in November, Walker's official schedule indicated he spent just ONE HOUR in the entire month on legislative matters. ONE HOUR. Same in January! Now you know why the legislative session has been in such disarray. Wisconsin's captain seldom has been at the helm of the ship of state. 

And there's also a distinct note of ennui in Walker's attitude, these days. In an interview earlier this week with Charlie Sykes, a right-wing radio talk show host in Milwaukee, Walker didn't sound all that much interested in his job, any more. This may be a "tell" suggesting what he privately thinks his chances are in the upcoming recall. In any event, he warned of the terrible effects on Wisconsin should he be recalled, then added:

Not because this job is that important to me, 'cuz frankly my wife in some ways would love it if I'd go back to the private sector and make some real money.

This from the guy who makes $144,000 a year (not "real money," apparently) along with lavish perks including a free mansion, a chef, a fine pension and a solid health plan, all taxpayer covered. By the way, that salary is at a record high for the governorship of this state, and Walker did not include himself among state employees made to sacrifice financially for the sake of his "austerity" (but still record high) budget.

This is, after all, the guy who right out of the gate clawed back five to eight percent of the compensation that most state workers receive, because "we're broke." The guy who criticized those workers for seeking an honet day's pay for a hard day's work, when many of them make a third of what he does, Democratic state senators included. The guy whose administration is nevertheless facing another nine-figure deficit before his biennial state budget is even half expired.

Add it all up, Wisconsin: Scott Walker is just not that into you.

Published

March 15, 2012 - 10:53am

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