Forget everything you thought you heard Scott Walker say about an open and clean government. Not only is he lousy at picking the right kind of people to work in his administration, like those in the John Doe investigation, but he's continuing that poor judgement in the political appointments put in charge of what should be non-partisan offices.
This is a lesson in bad and corrupt government. Everyone here is running on adrenalized ideology, or just plain stupidity:
jsonline: A top political appointee at the state DNR chose not to send a complaint against an Oconomowoc waste hauler to the Department of Justice for prosecution despite findings by agency staff that the company was treating fields with so much human waste from septic tanks it risked poisoning nearby wells, DNR records show.
(Former state representative) Scott Gunderson, executive assistant to DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp, “made an extra effort” to deal with the complaint internally last year even though the agency’s enforcement staff urged that the case be referred to DOJ, which could have imposed fines of tens of thousands of dollars. Gunderson decided to fine the company $4,338 — the minimum forfeiture … which the lead DNR investigator called “among the worst” he’d seen.
Gunderson received $750 in campaign contributions from the owner of the company, Richard Herr … Gunderson said he forgot … Spreading waste 3 times the legal level, next to “30 residences in a rural Jefferson County subdivision as well as five neighboring farms (and serves) 40 drinking water wells are nearby” … any settlement with the DOJ likely would have included a requirement that Herr pay for testing wells in the areas near the spreading. No such testing agreement (was made).
But the lack of concern for detail is stunning:
…the company provided more than 60 inaccurate records after inconsistencies in a 2010 inspection. But Gunderson said he hardly recalled reading (the) referral and said the potential health implications of Herr’s actions were not discussed at length … Gunderson … sought to iron out the problem in meetings with Herr and Herr’s state representative, Joel Kleefisch, R, who interceded on his behalf … Herr said he spoke with Stepp who assured him “no citations or forfeitures would be required” … Stepp … denied in an email she made such a claim to Herr.
At a second meeting, on Dec. 20, Kleefisch challenged Gunderson to reconsider the citations … “In the age of the DNR/Wisconsin Governor being pro-business, why is the DNR giving Herr 5 citations and why can’t 2 or 3 be taken away as a show of good faith?” Joel Kleefisch asked.
Self-regulation: “…hopefully they are going to be self-regulators in the future,” Gunderson said. “That’s what we want, we want them to live by the law. But if something comes to us that’s very blatant, yeah…
But if something doesn’t come up? I guess we all can drink a glass full of nitrates?
George Meyer was secretary of the DNR from 1993 to 2001: ”I’ve never heard of anything like this … Or of political influence to this degree, not only by a legislator but also by top administrators in the agency.” Enforcement by the DNR has dropped precipitously at the agency a 12-year low last year. Stepp blame the drop on … a change in philosophy that emphasizes cooperation with businesses rather than relying on prosecution.
After reading the above, try and make sense of this upside down "official statement" if you can:
Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie wrote, “Increasing compliance and decreasing the number of environmental regulation violations is a good thing for Wisconsin’s valuable natural resources, Wisconsin residents, tourism, our economy and ultimately for the next generation.”