Walker wants to run Wisconsin like a business -- a failing business | WisCommunity

Walker wants to run Wisconsin like a business -- a failing business

[img_assist|nid=55498|title=Your DNR boss|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=80|height=100]By making state employees pay more for their retirement and health insurance, limiting their initiative and resources at the office, shifting their work toward expensive private consultants, encouraging early retirements by threatening to transform the highly regarded Wisconsin Retirement System pension plan into a 401-K type system, and imposing a more top-down "shut up and work" model in government, Scott Walker and his pals think they are making the state's operations more business-like. Yeah, about as business-like as Enron or Lehman Brothers.

Bloomberg News just reported on how the private sector is reactiing to challenges in their own workplace. It's not at all what Walker and his pals think is happening. Even "evil" companies like big banks that ripped off American consumers are beginning to perceive that it's in their own best interest to treat their employees better. Read on:

Employers are sprucing up benefits such as flexible work schedules and retirement planning to retain older workers, according to Bank of America Corp.

About 94 percent of employers said they think it’s important to keep older workers because the companies need their skills, said a study released today by the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank. Employers are offering customized schedules, education on retirement and health care, and the ability to work from home, according to the study, which is based on interviews with 650 company executives and benefit administrators from April 19 to April 23. The businesses surveyed had from $5 million to $2 billion in revenue last year and at least 100 employees.

So while smart businesses are pushing hard to retain their most experienced and capable staff, Wisconsin government is pushing hard to get rid of them. Already, because of Walker's assaults on the state pension system, collective bargaining and other work conditions, many senior public employees in state and local government are suddenly retiring in droves, creating a brain drain that will make government less efficient and capable. Which, you've got to consider, may be the Republican's shadow strategy.

After all, Walkernomics maintains that the best way to provide value to Wisconsin taxpayers is to run the state like a bad business. Check out this report from the State Bar of Wisconsin:

... The state must have job creation and economic viability in order to fund environmental programs, [DNR Secretary Cathy[ Stepp added. She said the agency will strive to be customer-oriented.

That drew the ire of an Eau Claire lawyer, who asked how the DNR can promote customer-service as a regulatory agency set up to protect the public interest. “Regulated parties are not customers,” he stated. “It’s the public that needs to be served.”

He added: “Laws are there to protect the public interest, not to serve a developer that comes in and wants a permit. The burden is on the requestor to meet the law.”

Stepp responded: “I disagree with you in that we can’t be saying the words customer service and talking as if the applicant isn’t a customer, they are, as is the rest of the public. Our job is to uphold the rules and regulations in place. That does not mean that it’s okay to treat the regulated community as if they’re the enemy, they are not.”

Like [DOT Secretary Mark] Gottlieb, Stepp plans to enforce procedural consistency across the five regional offices to streamline the process, create efficiency, and show measurable results. She also said the DNR plans to engage the services of the private sector.

“We can’t do all the things we used to do anymore,” said Stepp, noting a dramatic decrease in the number of employees employed by the DNR since the mid 90s. “Today is the perfect day to start engaging the private sector.”

So, more outsourcing of the public's work to expensive private consultants. More "customer service" to businesses that wouldn't mind raping the environment for a profit, like strip-mining it or building on a protected wetland with less public oversight. Businesses are "customers" of the regulatory agencies and are to be serviced more than overseen. And state employees? Shut up and work for less money -- when we've got work for you, that is.


June 15, 2011 - 8:04am