|Rigging the Recall?|
The news the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board has "signed off on a plan for how it will handle reviewing what could be as many as 1.5 million signatures on petitions to recall Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (WISC)" was met with yawns this morning.
The sense of urgency has changed with today's announcement that at Noon (Central time) Thursday, sources say, United Wisconsin-Recall Walker will announce the Recall Scott Walker movement has already surpassed the required 540,208 signatures to recall Walker, a mere 30 days into the 60-day Recall period.
But one problem is as many as 1.5 million Wisconsin citizens will be automatically disqualified from Recall verification because of their political Recall activity; and the politicized Department of Administration (DoA) is calling the shots and making the rules, it was revealed today.
Michael Haas, Staff Counsel at the GAB, advises that no one who signed or circulated a Recall petition; or made a political contribution for a candidate to an elected office in the last 12 months can be hired as part of the verification process, per the Department of Administration.
Instead, the verification workers will come from four DoA-approved temporary agencies, who will vet the workers, per the DoA:
- ABR Employment Services (608) 268 2266
- Adtec Services (608) 231 3210
- DI and Associates; aka Spherion (608) 274 6000
- Hiring and Staff Services (608) 242 7885
Asked if the DoA were insisting on vetting the management and officers of the temp agencies who are hiring and vetting the some 50 workers to verify the Recall signatures, John Dipko, Communications Director of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) was contacted this morning by e-mail and phone. And I will insert his comments here, as received. [Dipko referred me to the GAB which is handling the logistics of the Recall. An e-mail seeking response from the governor's press office has also been sent. As for Thursday morning, there has been no response.]
What is troubling is that we are placing a critical task of the public integrity of the Recall process [namely staffing] into the hands of the politicized DoA that has privatized a public function, with GAB approval, no matter that they assure the temps will be "trained" and supervised, as attorney Haas said.
Disqualifying from the Recall verification process over a million Wisconsin citizens because of their political activity appears equally troubling, if not illegally discriminatory. [At least in the City of Madison where you cannot be denied employment because of your political beliefs. Is the GAB located solely in Madison?]
Someone working against the Recall is okay to go, unless she contributed money to a candidate.
Because a successful statewide Recall in Wisconsin is so rare, the GAB is clearly under high pressure breaking down the tasks of the verification project, not helped by the corrupt Republican executive and legislative branches that have publicly criticized the GAB on matters such as Voter ID rules.
And wouldn't it be much less expensive for the State to hire workers straight from the public in the first place rather than through temp agencies which take a big cut of money from state contracts?
What management personnel and officers of the temp agencies have contributed to the Scott Walker campaign? This concern seems as relevant as whether or not a temp verification specialist, as it were, were part of the pro-Recall forces.
It looks like the GAB finds itself between a rock and a hard place; but its lack of public push-back on this matter does nothing to inspire confidence in what should be an unassailable Recall process featuring a governor being recalled in part precisely because of concerns over corruption and public integrity.
How about the GAB calls for good government observers from wide communities of interest inspecting publicly titled tasks IDed by the GAB?
The effect now of the GAB rules - intended or not - is that many Democratically leaning Wisconsin citizens will be locked out of the Recall verification process. Suggesting that Republicans are equivalently affected is factually absurd.