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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Rewarding Incompetence: It's The County Way

by capper

Until last year, Milwaukee County ran the Private Industry Council. Due to lack of results, the PIC was taken away from the County and given to the City of Milwaukee. When the County ran the show, PIC was under the reins of Gerard Randall.

So now that PIC is gone, what does Milwaukee County do? They reinvent the wheel!

In a move by the County Board and approved of by Scott Walker, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that they are trying to recreate a version of PIC:
The county effort was advanced by Supervisor Elizabeth Coggs, who won approval for the task force and $125,000 in funding for it as an amendment to the 2008 county budget. At Coggs' request, County Executive Scott Walker agreed to not veto the measure, said Robert Dennik, director of the county's Economic Development Division. Walker was unavailable for comment. Coggs couldn't be reached.

The amendment creating the task force called for appointment of a five-person board. Randall was named to the task force by County Board Chairman Lee Holloway. At Coggs' suggestion, Randall also was hired to the consulting job.

Randall has a desk at Dennik's division, but takes his direction from Coggs, Dennik said. Randall's consulting job with the county is "kind of an extension of what he was doing over at the PIC," Dennik said.

So now we have the County and the City of Milwaukee doing the same thing. Not only that, they hire Randall, who blew it when he was in charge of PIC.

Not to mention that duplication of efforts is commonly viewed as a waste of tax payers' monies (emphasis mine):
This month, Randall was hired to advise a new Milwaukee County Task Force on Work Reform for Men. He'll be paid up to $8,000 a month over the next six months, according to his new contract.The 54-year-old Randall was named to head the Private Industry Council by former County Executive Tom Ament, after working as an Ament aide. He has also served as a University of Wisconsin System regent and political commentator. Randall didn't return phone calls.

Randall's contract calls for him to determine what the county's role should be in work-force development, identify areas in the city with the worst unemployment for minority men and come up with a plan for training up to 700 men over the next year. Randall also is supposed to craft a plan to improve youth employment and to look for state, federal or private money sources.

Yet, Donald Layden Jr., a member of the Workforce Investment Board and senior executive vice president of Metavante Corp., says those tasks overlap with the duties of the city board.

"This appears to be directly within the mandate of the Workforce Investment Board," he said. County officials should share their ideas with the city board rather than creating some parallel effort, he said.

The move comes in the wake of last year's political shuffle of the primary local job development agency. Barrett took over the old Private Industry Council after a growing sentiment that it wasn't operating effectively and it had seen its funding sources diminish. Barrett cited federal law in claiming his authority over what had been a county-dominated agency.

Mmm. The highlighted area appears to be promoting a collaboration between city and county governments to be more efficient and make better use of tax money. Now, where did we hear about something like that before? Oh, yeah...Senator Taylor said that when she was running for County Exec:
The Senator's fourth point is collaboration. She would work with the various cities in the County, the various school districts and neighboring counties to see where services could be combined to help defray costs.

The example she used for this point was cutting grass. The county has their own lawn mowers and people to operate them. Each city in the county, have their own people using their own machines to cut their properties. Each school district has the same thing going on as well. She said that she would try to join forces with the cities and the school districts to combine the pools of equipment and the staff members to run it, in an effort to help defray the costs, while maintaining a well-maintained community.

Go figure. Guess she wasn't so confused after all.

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