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The Walker administration didn't want us to know about this one.

Private contracting by Wisconsin state agencies surged by 26% in FY2011, reversing a six-year trend in declining privatization.

(Report: State's Use of Outside Contractors Surged Last Year, Wisconsin State Journal, 7/4/2012)

The Department of Administration report that revealed this disturbing reversal was required by law to be released on Oct. 15 last year.  Wisconsin's annual report on private contracting in state government sometimes misses the deadline by several weeks, but never by 8 months!

Not only did the Walker administration not want to release the report, they made a bid to kill the reporting-requirement altogether via the state budget legislation of June 2011.  The initial version of Walker's budget would also have eliminated a requirement that the state perform cost-benefit analysis on outsourced service contracts of more the $25,000.  Both of those provisions, however, were stripped from the budget in the face of Republican opposition.  Democratic State Senator Julie Lassa (of the Fab 14) credits GOP State Sen. Robert Cowles for the pushback, noting that he was the author of the cost-benefit analysis requirement in the first place, back in 2005 when Doyle was governor and Republicans were presumably in favor of accountability!

So the requirements stayed.  But the report didn't appear on schedule.  Nor did it appear a month later, nor a month after that!  Sen. Lassa sent a letter inquiring after the report in Feb. 2012, and never received a reply.  Other requests followed, reaching a crescendo in a request last week signed by 28 Wisconsin legislators.  The controversy caught the attention of watchdog reporter Bill Lueders of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, resulting in a hard-hitting June 26 article: State agency thumbs nose at law.

A day after the article appeared, DOA spokesperson Jocelyn Webster finally broke the silence and blamed the delay on the University of Wisconsin.  No foot-dragging on the part of the DOA, no sirree!

Except that when the report finally did come out on Monday... the DOA sneaked it up onto their website without telling anyone.  It silently appeared in the considerable shadow of another eagerly-awaited report, a study that the Walker admin had eagerly required in hopes of finding justification for privatizing the Wisconsin Retirement System!  (They failed: Report cautions against major changes to Wisconsin Retirement System) -- but in the hubbub around the retirement-system piratization question, they managed to slip the statewide private-contracting report under the radar -- for a day, at least.  The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism was watching for the private-contracting report, though, and reported on their web site July 3.  The Wisconsin State Journal picked it up July 4; other than that, I've only seen it in the Eau Claire paper, not even on any of the blogs I follow.

Which is too bad, because this is so indicative of the entire ALEC-y mindset of the Walker administration:

Private contracting by Wisconsin state agencies surged by 26% in FY2011, reversing a six-year trend in declining privatization.

The University of Wisconsin, meanwhile, REDUCED private contracting by 2%.

To be fair, the report, which covers 7/1/2010 to 6/30/2011, does not break out the private contracts by gubernatorial term -- ie, how much of the privatization occurred under Gov. Doyle in 2010, and how much is directly attributable to Gov. Walker.  But based on the previous years' trends under Doyle, as graphed in the report, it's entirely reasonable to assume that Doyle didn't make any major reversals in the lame-duck months of his term.  This upsurge in privatizing is surely on Walker's watch.  And, again, they're clearly not eager to have us know about it.

What do you suppose we'll see in the next year's report, which will be entirely under Walker's admin?  When do you suppose we'll see that one?

Originally posted to AnnieJo on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 12:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Progressive Hippie.

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