[Updated from Sunday, 9/27, 1:40 p.m.]
Rarely has a state government set out to wreak havoc on itself to feed needy political egos, reward insiders and advance crackpot ideology (see Kansas, Brownback, et al)
, but that's where Wisconsin is headed.
So before it's too late, Wisconsin lawmakers should be forced in the name of fairness and logic to bury permanently a GOP-inspired plan that appeared out of nowhere last week
to discard the protections for taxpayers which support and define the state government civil service personnel system.
Like similar and recent right-wing GOP efforts to kill the state Open Records law and the non-partisan Government Accountability Board, the civil service eradication proposal is a partisan power-grab, pure and simple and overwhelmingly self-interested and cynical.
Citing and hyping the slimmest of evidence - - a handful of headline-grabbing outrages by a few bad apples among tens of thousands of dedicated public servants and their multiple millions of hours of honest work - - game-playing GOP legislative leaders and an ever-opportunistic Gov. Walker again went to their deep well of anti-labor sentiment when announcing they intended to scrap civil service exams and turn state employee recruiting, hiring, promotion and termination over to agency heads whom Walker has already appointed.
Which will lead to personnel decisions - - from the mail room to the board room - - inevitably and intentionally influenced by friendships, party affiliations, political preferences and campaign donations.
How much control is enough for this Governor and his party?
Grossly-secretive and tilted redistricting has already allowed GOP legislators to reward Walker with far greater powers than his predecessors wielded over state assets, including jobs.
* He and department heads he's appointed can now appoint department-level, in-house attorneys whose positions, along with information specialists and other senior positions
, were moved from civil service to at-will employment in the early days of his administration.
* He can sell any state asset with minimal review by the legislature's budget-writing committee which he and his party control 12-4, and without competitive bids.
* He can approve or turn aside administrative rules which have the force of law in Wisconsin, and which had previously been the subject of public hearings.
* He, his 'chamber-of-commerce mentality' appointees and legislative allies have repeatedly corporatized and politicized
the Department of Natural Resources and reorganized it to elevate business influence
; little wonder that major exceptions and favors are being sought there
, especially involving waters which belong to everyone
* The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
he created and chaired for nearly its entire existence has been repeatedly caugh
t making questionable loans and dubious grants while evading routine accounting and legal procedures set up to protect the public interest and purse.
The Walkerites said all those practices were cumbersome - - the same justification being cited in the proposed civil service rollback.
Goodbye objectivity. Hello, spoils (and we've seen it before
Welcome to Havocwreakistan.
Can you imagine a state hiring system where Big Pharma and insurers are better able to get their favored resumes more easily into the hiring process at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Do the road-builders and trucking firms need more influence at the WisDOT - - which purportedly regulates them?
Whose interest is being served if pipeline and fossil fuel businesses and builders gain even more access to staffing at the DNR and the Public Service Commission?
Should partisan organizations, lobbyists, and advocacy groups be better positioned to pitch their people to every state agency, with gubernatorial appointees able to make the hiring, promotion and firing decisions in coordination with the Governor or his office staff?
Wisconsin is at an ethical crossroads.
Inefficiency, waste, personal preferences for public personnel, partisan advantage and corruption - - the basics of political danger and heartbreak - - are dead ahead.