Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker does not have a clue. He lacks insight as to how to analyze and fix systems, lower operating costs, and improve services.
With all of the commotion over the State takes over county's public assistance programs Walker's leadership qualities are laid bare.
First comes this report, Walker urges state takeover of public aid programs:
Walker's call for a state takeover follows a series of warnings from the state over shortcomings in the county's administration of public assistance programs... "This is a state mandate," Walker said. "It's amazing state government has been such a lousy partner on this."
Scott Walker has my sympathies, I know what it is like to operate a local unit of government with underfunded state mandates. But providing quality services and the needed improvement is not mastered by sympathies alone.
Tuesday the process started, State takes over county's public assistance programs
...he said the state could do more cheaply because of the lower costs of the state's pension plan and other fringe benefits.
Walker's message is clear. There are no operational failures or problems in leadership in the county agency; blame it on staff costs.
A further search for Walker's solutions to cope with the problem: Facing state takeover, County Board moves to fix public aid programs
Walker favored hiring Impact, a private agency, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to operate the call center for $2 million a year. That would provide more help at lower cost than adding county workers, according to Walker.
Outsourcing and lowering labor costs is Walker's only thoughts regarding a crippled system he managed for close to five years. Rather than demand that the county shed one service after another from the parks to the airport, perhaps this chief executive, who covets the governor's office, should demonstrate the ability to improve this agency at the county level.
Walker must learn to operate on more than one track at a time. County government is like a switch yard with dozens of tracks and the state is even more complicated.
Yes, criticism of the state for underfunded mandates is one option, but simultaneously Walker must tackle the management problems and the culture of frustration and failure in county government.