La Follette Pension Study
The La Follette Workshop in Pubic Affairs prepared a study for the Wisconsin Legislative Council on alternatives for administering the Wisconsin Retirement System. This report is NOT the report required by ACT 32 which is due to be released in June. The La Follette report was released in May of 2012. For more details, click here.
Defend The Wisconsin Retirement System
Retired WPEC member/activist Philip Anderson and retired WSP member/activist Roger Springman prepared an paper about defending the WRS retirement system. They are also part of a group of public retiree activists called POWRS. To read the paper, click here.
Pension Tension, Capital Times.
"Now, emboldened by the recent recall victory in Wisconsin — and two votes the same night in California to sharply curb pensions for municipal employees — anti-government forces are taking aim at public-sector retirement systems nationwide." Click Here to read more.
Companies Pension Pleas (in the private sector).
"Business groups are urging Congress to let employers put less money into their pension funds, saying that exceptionally low interest rates are forcing them to set aside too much cash. . . Labor unions are open to changing the contribution formula, but say that Congress shouldn't allow companies to underfund their pension plans, as has happened already in some cases."
Click Here to read more.
State's Pension System Doesn't Need Tinkering
A somewhat surprising editorial from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (6/28/12).
Click Here to read more.
A coalition of unions including AFT-Wisconsin filed a lawsuit over the controversial law last year. The court ruled that the state cannot prevent public employee unions from collecting voluntary dues through payroll deductions and cannot require that they recertify annually. To read a Wisconsin State Journal article about the decision and to read a copy of the decision itself, Click Here.
Update (5/2/12) -- The Walker administration appealed the court's decision regarding annual recertifications and paycheck deductions. The administration also asked for a temporary stay of these decisions. In a somewhat confusing ruling, the judge denied the request for a stay regarding payroll deductions and he also ruled that going forward, the State could NOT require annual recertifications. However, he left in place the recertification elections that were already required (and held). The next step is circuit court for the appeals which our attorney estimates could take 6 to 9 months.
We periodically ask for a list of the vacant positions from DOA. The lists we get do NOT include the University of Wisconsin, the State Legislature or the Wisconsin Court System. The list from June 2011 showed 4,890 vacant agency positions.
According to the Wisconsin Budget Report, April 2011, "Wisconsin continues its trend of having fewer state and local employees per capita than the national average, according to numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau. The number of state and local employees per capita in Wisconsin stayed about the same from 2008 to 2009, and remained well below the national average. Click Here for more details.
In the summer of 2010, WPEC members at the Department of Health Services (DHS) reported concerns about the growing number of vendor employees working at DHS. They were concerned that these vendor employees were being hired through the Medicaid Fiscal Agent contract with EDS-HP to perform duties that were not directly part of that contract. In response, WPEC requested a number of Medicaid contract documents. A WPEC employee also filed a complaint with the LAB Fraud and Abuse Hotline that many of these hires seemed inappropriate because they were outside the scope of the contract and also noted that the HP Account Executive overseeing these hires was a former DHS employee.
LAB has not yet formally responded to the Hotline Complaint, but an LAB audit of the Medicaid program released in December of 2011 addressed some of the concerns. They reported on the high number of vendor employees, the lack of involvement of purchasing professionals in these contract decisions, and the lack of oversight of this large new vendor workforce.
To see copies of some of the documents, Click Here.
We sometimes hear about job vacancies. We're posting them here while they're current.
Changes in Wisconsin Election Law
The Madison City Clerk has put together a pamphlet summarizing the recent changes to Wisconsin election laws. Although it's put out by the City of Madison, most of what it says applies statewide.