Wednesday, December 30, 2015

For Walker spokesmodel, story's source > over story's facts

As a 2-time graduate of UW-Madison, I took extra notice of this Wisconsin State Journal article from Sunday discussing how UW faculty is being recruited by universities in other states, and a main reason many UW faculty members might listen goes right back to actions from the Walker Administration and the WisGOP Legislature.
UW-Madison has not said how many faculty campuswide have been recruited by other institutions. But its College of Letters and Science — which averages about 30 retention cases per fiscal year — had already seen 42 this academic year, with what Mangelsdorf called “prime recruiting season” still to come in January, February and March.

Thomas Harnisch, director of state relations and policy analysis for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, said Wisconsin’s budget cuts and changes to tenure and shared governance have been hot topics in academic circles, and were frequently covered in the national higher education press. That exposure could lead to the perception — one UW-Madison officials say they’re working against — that the university is vulnerable to raids on its professors.

“The changes in Wisconsin over the last year have really caught the attention of higher education officials nationwide,” Harnisch said. “They may well see this as a great opportunity to land some faculty members from Wisconsin and bring them to their campus.”

Top faculty often hear from universities that want to lure them away from UW-Madison, and many factors beyond a state’s political climate affect professors’ decisions to stay or leave. But political science chairman David Canon said the events of the past year could make faculty more receptive to other universities’ recruitment efforts.
So what does the Walker Administration say when asked about whether there might be a connection between UW faculty being recruited and the anti-UW policies that were passed into law in 2015?
Laurel Patrick, a spokeswoman for Gov. Scott Walker, questioned whether the impacts UW officials claim the budget is having on faculty are accurate, or if they were “unsubstantiated anecdotes from sources that are hardly unbiased to the situation.”
Keep that thought from Ms. Patrick in the back of your mind, and recall another story from earlier this month that dealt with two state employees that were literally screwing around while on the clock at work.
The documents show that the relationship left other employees uncomfortable and that the couple traded workday emails with graphic details and with the suggestion that an air mattress be brought to a secluded spot within their state office.

Gov. Scott Walker cited this incident in September when he called for overhauling Wisconsin's long-standing civil service system, saying these rules had kept state managers from firing two employees who had had sex on state property.

But files released to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel under the open records law show no attempt by an appointee of the Republican governor to fire the two state employees or to give them any form of discipline other than letters of reprimand. On the contrary, the records show that Railroad Commissioner Jeff Plale softened the reprimand letters after the workers objected to an earlier version of them.

In addition, Plale, a former Democratic senator, then agreed last year to removing the reprimand from the personnel file of Elizabeth Piliouras, who had been railroad commission liaison at the time of the incident.
By the way, this is where I'll remind you how Jeff Plale got his job- by voting against contracts for state workers at the end of 2010, which allowed Walker to set up the false "crisis" that led to the imposition of the union-busting Act 10. And that this civil service bill would lead to a lot more Jeff Plale-like hacks throughout all departments of state government.

So what did Laurel Patrick say when she was confronted with the reality behind the dishonest anecdote Gov Walker shared to the WisGOP legislators?
Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said in an email to The Associated Press on Friday that the workers' story, detailed Friday by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, illustrates the need for a bill that would reform the civil service system.
So after being told that the appropriate measures to fire these two people could have been taken under the current civil service system, human marionette Laurel Patrick is still insisting that "reform" is needed to "solve" this problem that we now know doesn't exist.

In other words, Laurel- if it's some cronyist legislation that you and your boss Scotty want the rubes to swallow, then “unsubstantiated anecdotes from sources that are hardly unbiased to the situation” are perfectly fine to use to manufacture support for such legislation. But when it comes to actual UW officials telling the Walker Administration what actual UW faculty are dealing with, and that they need to raise pay and benefits to compete with out-of-state universities, then those are just people trying to slant things to their side of the story. Got it.

With clowns such as Laurel Patrick and the rest of her bosses at the Wisconsin GOP showing such an aversion to outside input and a refusal to deal with reality, is it any wonder this state is struggling to keep talent? And is it any wonder why we keep lagging our Midwestern neighbors and the rest of the country when it comes to economic growth?

UPDATE- Oh, and look what just hit. The Wisconsin DOT stiffed Scott Walker's security detail on overtime, and now taxpayers will have to shell out over $570,000. Oh, but it's the civil service that needs to be changed, and not the selfish, incompetent elected officials and administrators that they appoint. Riiiiight.


  1. So the only problems that Walker and his administration are able to even try to fix are the ones that don't exist?

    1. That's the plan. Distract the rubes any way they can with shiny objects to keep them from looking at the mess they've made.