Yesterday 76 more people in Milwaukee County had to sit down at the kitchen table and tell their family something I can’t even begin to imagine: they’d been fired.
The Journal Sentinel has the breakdown, including a quote from the administration (though not the CE himself, he was apparently at a campaign rally in Racine yesterday when the news hit):
Those being laid off are 27 security guards at five major county buildings, 25 parks maintenance workers, nine Mitchell International Airport employees, five highway maintenance workers and 10 other Department of Transportation and Public Works staffers. They were given two weeks’ notice. – jsonline.com
My best goes out to all of them. I know a few who were maintenance workers for the parks and loved doing their jobs.
After this round of layoffs there will be no more “Parks Maintenance Worker I” positions anymore. There used to be 45 or so of these positions just a few years ago. Heading into spring, the impact on our parks will be immediate and noticeable. These are the people who, among other things, empty garbage cans, plow snow, fix swing sets and make sure parks are safe for families to enjoy.
There are now by my estimates fewer than 60 people now available to take care of the 15,000 acres of park land in 144 parks in our County. If you were planning on having a wedding reception at some place like South Shore Pavilion like Jenny and I did, you may literally be responsible for making sure the bathrooms have toilet paper for your guests and the trash has been emptied the day before. There just won’t be anyone left to do it anymore.
The move will save a less than impressive $1.8 million this year, and I’m left to wonder why those being asked to make the sacrifices and tighten their belts continue to be the blue collar workers who are more often than not the primary bread winners for their families?
If the administration in the County were serious about tackling the $10 million budget hole, why are they only going after blue collar workers? As I’ve pointed out several times, why does the County Executive have both a “Receptionist” and an “Executive secretary for scheduling“? Why both a “Director of Communications” and a “Deputy Director of Communications“? What is really the difference between the two positions (and handsome salaries that match) in the County Executive’s office for “Director of Community Relations” and “Constituent Services“?
If you’re going to get serious about fixing the budget deficit, why not start with your own office first? Surely, consolidating or eliminating some of those positions would put a dent in the $10 million deficit just as well as firing the people who keep the parks clean, right?
If you’re going to get serious about fixing the budget deficit, why not start with the boondoggle of a payroll system known as “Ceridian” that’s cost taxpayers over $20 million to develop and after five years still isn’t close to working? How about getting rid of the programs like Ceridian which are wasteful instead of the people who take out the waste?
I could go on, and a lot of people who know more than me about County Government could as well.
To those of you who had to have that gut wrenching conversation about “what do we do now?” with your wife or husband or children last night, my thoughts are with you.