First things first; though the Journal Sentinel was late to the reporting party, they’ve done a bang-up job in outlining just how egregious the scam was. From news that some, like former supervisor Tom Bailey, received multiple invites into the “buy back” scheme (in Bailey’s case, he knew he could buy back when he got elected; he chose to blow the 2-year window and later got in under the scam by lying about his prior knowledge and refusal to buy back in), to more-than-incidential knowledge among seasonal employees that they could have entered the county pension system as seasonal employees (that same story notes that; the change to allow those that had never been in the pension system to buy in as though they had was one of the key killers in this scam), to a listing of some teat-suckers who were to a person unrepentant for participating in the scam, Dave Umhoefer has done yeoman’s work.
I see that I got picked up by WisOpinion. Thanks, guys. Beyond those I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I noticed that Capper (filling in at Jay Bullock’s place), James Rowen, and Dan Cody have noticed. I have to thank Capper for linking to me (and Technorati for finding the link), and WisOpinion for finding James’ and Dan’s words.
Speaking of reactions, this morning’s paper has a few from various county pols. Supervisor Mark Borowski asked, “What bothers me is how does the county in essence shaft the IRS? Doesn’t somebody, somewhere say something?” He ought to know the answer to the second, especially since he voted for the Big Grab of 2000; hell no. As for the first, I’m not a lawyer, but based on what the paper reported, the county enabled its employees to shaft the IRS. If there’s more than that, I’m presuming that Umhoefer’s holding that to prevent any tainting of the potential jury pool. Paging the shark. Paging Mr. Rick Esenberg. What beyond enabling employees to bust the 25%-of-salary limit on “buy backs” is a violation of federal law?
County Executive Scott Walker asked (once again) for an independent review of the pension situation. I could’ve swore we had one after the Scam of 2000; how did that miss this? As for the pension board’s suggestion that most of the grabbers be “grandfathered” by the Board and Walker, he said, “There’s no way we’re doing down that path. That certainly won’t be our approach,….” Even money says that it will be county board chair Lee Holloway’s.
Supervisor Jim “Luigi” Schmitt gasped out, “How do two wrongs make a right? I’m not going to be party to that.” Oh, really? You were a party to one hell of a wrong with your vote for the Big Grab of 2000.
Guess I’ve already started with the questions, so let them roll:
– How did this miss EVERYBODY’S attention, especially in the wake of the Big Grab of 2000? That particular grab came to light in January, 2002. The pension board quietly put in a sunset provision for this grab in question in 2005, and it finally sunsetted in January 2007.
– How did the Journtinel twig onto this? If one winds the calendar back the 6 months they’ve been digging into this, that would be the month that this abomination was shut down. I rather suspect that it was a teat-sucker who was a bit late to the grab party and was hoping that the paper would be sympathetic to him/her.
– Prior to yesterday, where was the paper’s reporting? The pension board may have been spurred to self-report to the IRS by questioning by a reporter, but unless I missed the story, they sure weren’t spurred to do so by anything that actually appeared in the paper.
– This one’s a special to the lefties (though righties are welcome to chime in as well); just how are we going to pull this back for those that already “bought back”, especially considering that your kind of politicians made it all-but-impossible to pull back anything related to pensions, even those that were improperly and/or illegally granted?
– Related to that, other than a risky pull-back attempt and the end of the program by the pension board once the teat-suckers were booted (which already happened), what more can be done? Other than Michael Mayo, there is nobody in an elected office that had a hand in implementing this.
– For those that would say criminal charges, what’s the statute of limitations on that? It’s been 9 years since federal laws were likely violated.
– Is there an exemption to the end of the “buy back” scheme for existing unionized employees, like there is for the end of the pension “enhancements” that was the Big Grab of 2000?
Revisions/extensions (6:47 pm 7/30/2007) – Add Mike Nichols to the list of reax, and he points out that Sue Baldwin resumed her suit to get even more money than she and her husband, former sheriff Lev, ran out the door with.
Revisions/extensions part 2 (7:44 pm 7/30/2007) – Cleaned up who appeared to know what when a bit. After a re-reading and a comment from “Concerned reader”, the original made it appear that this might have came to light outside the pension board before it did.