Shortly after the 2002 election for County Executive, Scott Walker announced that there was a large deficit in the budget for the Parks Department. He pinned the blame on then Parks Director Sue Baldwin, even though he knew about the deficit as early as six months previously.
We are now just past seeing Walker being re-elected as County Executive, and there are new stories of bumbling.
As I wrote about last October, an inmate named Freddie Dudley allegedly was AWOL from the Community Correctional Center (part of the House of Corrections), when he said he shot a person on the far north side. At that time, Walker fired four officers (one of which was cleared and allowed back to work). I questioned Walker's motives and the wisdom of the actions he was taking.
Now it turns out that Dudley didn't kill anyone, and there are even questions if he was even AWOL from the correctional center. There is a call from the union to have the other three officers reinstated with back pay:
Three correctional officers recommended for firing over Dudley's purported walk-away from the work-release center should be immediately reinstated with back pay, said Kevin Schoofs, president of the correctional workers union.
Raffael Nash, Allamont Perine and Steven Stahl were suspended in October and recommended for firing because they failed to properly count Dudley and other inmates, according to disciplinary charges.
Those officers were political scapegoats for County Executive Scott Walker and top House of Correction officials, Schoofs said. Walker called for harsh discipline of any officers found at fault, after the Dudley homicide charges were issued.
The former manager of the work-release center also was recommended for firing in connection with the Dudley case, but that discipline was overturned by the county's Personnel Review Board.
As the right is fond of saying, where do these good officers go to get their good names back?The three officers have been scheduled for a review in June. This was reported last year, when they were fired. Walker spins it in a way to save himself face:
Monday, Walker said there should be a review of the disciplinary charges against Nash, Perine and Stahl in light of the new evidence about Dudley.
If it turns out the three failed to follow work rules properly, the discipline should stand, Walker said.
Ironic that Walker mentions follows rules, when he doesn't. From another article in this morning's news, this about the County's failure to follow through on the law to become greener:
Swift consideration should be given for potential alternative energy applications for county facilities, such as the latest technology for solar panels for heating buildings, Weishan said.
He also faulted County Executive Scott Walker for foot-dragging on hiring a director of sustainability and environmental services, which was called for in last year's "green print" mandate. That person should have been hired months ago, he said.
Walker said the money for the position was approved in the 2008 budget, but not pegged to start until April 1. A job description is now being developed and should be ready to be advertised soon, he said. The job will pay about $108,000 a year.
Nothing like getting a jump on something you know is coming, so that you can be in adherence of the law you signed, eh, Scott?