Tag Archives: Wisconsin

Wisconsin lags other states on mandate / A look at how states have met HAVA standards

Source: By The Associated Press, Monday, September 29, 2008

Nearly a dozen other potential battleground states completed computer systems to confirm voter identities before Wisconsin, where a lawsuit threatens to throw the Nov. 4 election into chaos. Each state’s circumstances were different, but their success suggests Wisconsin election officials could have completed their system earlier, and avoided the costly and contentious lawsuit filed by its GOP attorney general – who also happens to run presidential candidate John McCain’s campaign in the state. …… Richard Coolidge, a spokesman for Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman, blamed delays in that state on computer contractor Accenture. The state canceled its $10.5 million contract with the company in 2005. Florida, Kansas, Wyoming and Wisconsin all canceled their contracts with Accenture as well over delays.

……. The real problems began when Accenture, which won the state’s bidding process to build the computerized system, began to fall behind in 2005, Kennedy said. The company’s contract called for it to deliver a full operation product by March 2006, but a 2007 audit found the system still couldn’t track ineligible voters and failed test runs. The state finally nixed the $14 million contract in December of that year.

Aramark workers vote to strike

Source: The Capital Times (WI), 5/28/2008 7:14 pm

Workers at the Aramark Laundry have voted unanimously to authorize a strike against the company over what the union contends are unfair labor practices.

The dispute between the company and its workers has heated up in recent weeks as the company called police to have union representatives tossed from the company, which police declined to do.

Privatization of State Administrative Services

Source: Drury D. Stevenson, Louisiana Law Review, Vol. 68, 2008

From the abstract:
Privatization of government services has been touted as a cost-savings approach for state agencies, promising to harness the efficiencies of market forces to overcome the perceived inefficiencies of bureaucracies. Empirical and anecdotal evidence indicates that such savings rarely materialize, and instead outsourcing is often a bad deal for taxpayers. This paper explores the inherent problems in the contractual arrangements for these attempts at government outsourcing. Perverse incentives, transaction costs, non-competitive bidding, the nature of government services handled on the state level, and conflicting legal rules regarding interpretation all contribute to the failure of privatization for the states.

Wisconsin governor's troubled efficiency plan falls short

Source: By RYAN J. FOLEY, Associated Press (WI), 04.29.08, 5:39 PM ET

The headline-grabbing claim from Gov. Jim Doyle in March 2005 couldn’t have been clearer. At a news conference, Doyle said his administration would save taxpayers up to $200 million over four years through better management of the state bureaucracy under the so-called ACE Initiative.

The state would negotiate new contracts to buy goods and services for less money. It would sell off surplus property. And it would consolidate a number of other functions across state government to find savings.

…… Jill Malak, a spokeswoman for AFT-Wisconsin, a state employees union, said her union warned the program wouldn’t work from the beginning because it relied too heavily on private contractors.

Worker wins new hearing / Public service ambassador accused employer of disability bias

Source: By MARIE ROHDE, Journal Sentinel (WI), March 18, 2008

A downtown Milwaukee public service ambassador who was fired after she refused to stop wearing a wrist brace and using a cane could get her job back as the result of a decision issued Tuesday by the 1st District Court of Appeals.

….. In June 2004, her employers at Wackenhut Corp. insisted that she see the firm’s doctor in connection with Rutherford’s worker’s compensation claim. That doctor said she was able to do the necessary work without the cane or wrist brace. She balked, saying her personal doctor thought otherwise. Her bosses gave her a month to obtain a medical report or work without the brace and cane.

Audit pans records system / Program for inmates' medical information fails expectations

Source: By STEVE SCHULTZE, Journal Sentinel (WI), Feb. 29, 2008

A nearly 5-year-old computerized medical records system for inmates at the Milwaukee County Jail and the House of Correction in Franklin has failed to provide more than $1 million in expected savings and has worked so poorly it should be trashed, a new audit (.pdf) says.

….. The vendor chosen for the system, Illinois-based Seaquest Technologies, did not have experience designing records systems for correctional facilities.

County panel backs audit of bus security / Sheriff cites lack of public accountability

Source: By STEVE SCHULTZE, Journal Sentinel (WI), Feb. 1, 2008

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. on Thursday blasted the private security firm hired to guard local buses, questioning whether the $1.1 million annual cost was worth it.

Wackenhut Corp., an international company headquartered in Florida, has provided security for Milwaukee County Transit System buses since 1993. Clarke said in a letter to the County Board that the company had “top-heavy administration that leads to fewer people actually performing a security function.”

…… Clarke said Wackenhut had refused to provide detailed information about its bus security operations to his department. He also said Wackenhut guards spent too little time riding buses.

Savings missed in state analysis / Less-costly staff not always used; even so, contract costs drop

Source: By PATRICK MARLEY, Journal Sentinel (WI), Nov. 22, 2007

Madison – The state outsourced work at least 74 times in the most recent fiscal year even after determining it would cost less to use state employees.

Despite those decisions, contracting costs dropped 14% for the fiscal year that ended June 30, continuing a downward trend since Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle took office, a new report shows. (.pdf)

The report suggests that the state could have saved more. Precise figures were not available, but a Journal Sentinel analysis of state records shows that as much as $12.5 million went to contractors that would have been saved if state workers had been used instead.

……. Early last year, Doyle signed the law requiring cost-benefit analyses for any service that would cost more than $25,000. Tuesday’s report was the first look at how the law has been working.

Privatizing county services is just a path toward lower-paid jobs

Source: By GERRY BRODERICK, Milwaukee County supervisor for the 3rd District, Journal Sentinel (WI), Jan. 12, 2008

…….. Rather than favoring a much smaller increase in our sales tax to preserve quality of life offerings in Milwaukee County, Walker suggests saving money by eliminating public jobs – and thus the cost of employee fringe benefits – by privatizing a number of county programs and assets, including golf courses.

…….. Many of us elected to public office see a very different solution to the fiscal woes besetting state and local government: Tax fairness.

Recent studies by the Institute for Wisconsin’s Future (www.wisconsinsfuture.org) make it clear that hundreds of multinational corporations use loopholes and accounting schemes to avoid paying their fair share of Wisconsin state taxes. Instead, honest residents and small business owners are left to assume an increased share of the tax burden.

Again, a state mailing is sent with recipient ID numbers on label

Source: By STACY FORSTER and PATRICK MARLEY, Journal Sentinel (WI), Jan. 9, 2008

For the second time in just over a year, a state publication has been sent to tens of thousands of people with their Social Security numbers printed on the mailing labels.

About 260,000 participants in Medicaid programs were sent a recent mailing that included the recipients’ Social Security numbers above their names on the address labels, the state Department of Health and Family Services said Tuesday.

…….. While 485,000 copies were supposed to go out, the mailing was stopped after a recipient caught the error, according to EDS Corp., the vendor responsible for processing the mailings. State officials said they learned of the mistake Monday night.