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This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Furloughs: Thank you, Milwaukee County Board


You hear all that loud whining and moaning? It’s coming from Milwaukee County workers.

The Milwaukee County Board correctly voted to go along with County Executive Scott Walker’s plan to add an additional 10 furlough days for approximately 1,500 county union workers. That will trim about $2 million from the county deficit.

Union leaders and the rank and file are all upset when they have no right to be. Clearly, they are clueless and unsympathetic to what has been happening in the private sector to the folks who pay their salaries. Those poor people are getting pay cuts and pink slips.  Still, union slugs show up at public meetings with their greedy paws extended, begging for more handouts at taxpayer expense.





'It’s like sitting here watching your own funeral,' Chris Liebenthal of Milwaukee said while watching the Milwaukee County Board act on the 2010 budget last November. The sartorially splendid Liebenthal is a human service worker with Milwaukee County Department of Human Services. Journal Sentinel photo.


When the devastating economy has put so many on the unemployment line, government workers forced to take furloughs, unappreciative that they still have jobs with benefits and unwilling to accept some sacrifice, can’t seem to drop their selfish entitlement mentality.

I spoke with a Milwaukee County supervisor earlier this week who told me the calls he was getting about furloughs were overwhelmingly in support of tacking on even more unpaid vacation days.

Again, county workers, just like their counterparts at the state level, have no concept of economic reality. Taxpayers are hopping mad, sick and tired of the constant tax increases and bloated government budgets while their wages get frozen or slashed and their benefit packages evaporate.

County workers and the union bosses that represent them would be wise to take their furloughs, buck up and clam up.

Just a few days ago, the PewResearchCenter released a negative report about unions:

Favorable views of labor unions have plummeted since 2007, amid growing public skepticism about unions' purpose and power. Currently, 41% say they have a favorable opinion of labor unions while about as many (42%) express an unfavorable opinion. In January 2007, a clear majority (58%) had a favorable view of unions while just 31% had an unfavorable impression.”

And don’t feel sorry for county workers who have more unpaid vacation time coming. Badger Blogger wrote the following last October:

“The 2008 benefits cost for Milwaukee County employees was 74.35% of salary. And while county employees are decrying proposed wage cuts and cuts to services (and are willing to show up at taxpayer rallies in an attempt to make their ‘plight’ known) the cost of their benefits is projected to have increased another 8-10% in 2009, according to budget analysts. In real dollars, this means that a typical county employee – say, for example, county social worker, union organizer, prolific semi-professional blogger, and Chairman of the recently-formed ‘non-partisan social welfare organization’ Milwaukee County First, Chris Liebenthal – making $48,816.00 annually, according to a publicly accessible online database, courtesy of the Journal/Sentinel – actually cost county taxpayers an additional $36,295 in 2008 non-salary compensation. If 2009 projections are accurate, this cost becomes in excess of $40,000.00.”

A big thank you to the Milwaukee County supervisors that cast the right vote in favor of furloughs.

And a final note. If county workers have to endure more furloughs, that means fewer days that some knucklehead social worker can reunite an innocent foster child with a blood relative that’s abusive, a cocaine addict or both, thus endangering the very life of that child.

How does that phrase go again? Oh yeh. But if we can save just one life….

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