Pigs At The Trough In Kenosha
Imagine 14 hogs somehow getting loose in the storeroom where the farmer keeps his feed. Imagine the chaos and noise that comes from the resulting feeding frenzy.
Now imagine that you're the farmer - except instead of slop, the hogs are going after the money in your wallet.
Not a pretty picture, is it? Yet that's precisely what happened Tuesday night when 14 Kenosha County Supervisors decided to belly up to the trough, stick out their big snouts and eat their fill at the expense of the taxpayers.
For reasons that pass understanding, there are 28 (!) Kenosha County Supervisors. Being a Kenosha County Supervisor is a very part-time job that pays a modest stipend of $6000 a year. The kicker though is that County Supervisors get to attach themselves (not unlike leeches) to the health insurance plan offered full-time County employees. The taxpayers currently underwrite 90% of the cost of the health insurance for the Supervisors. For 2010, this sweetheart deal was scheduled to cost taxpayers $286,500.
Not a bad perk for part-time work! This is especially true given that many of the Supervisors presumably have "real jobs" which undoubtedly provide them with access to health insurance. Still, why pay for it yourself when you can foist the bill on the taxpayers?.
In any event, Tuesday night Supervisor Dayvin Halprin moved to strike the entire benefit. My guess is that Supervisor Halprin felt that in a county where the unemployment rate currently is pushing 10%, expecting the taxpayers to shell out $286,500 for part-time Supervisors was - well - borderline immoral.
I think it's fair to say that Supervisor Halprin was viewed by some of his colleagues as the you-know-what in the punch bowl.
Seeing little support for eliminating the benefit entirely, Supervisor Rob Zerban suggested reducing the County's contribution to 50%. This would have still been a sweet deal for the Supervisors but it would have at least shown a little consideration for the taxpayers. The motion was defeated 22 to 5.
It was at that point that the hogs broke through the door to the storeroom. Kenosha County Supervisor James Huff moved to eliminate any premium cost for supervisors. 13 of his pals quickly oinked their approval and the motion passed.
Think about it. In the midst of one of the most extreme economic downturns of our lifetime (and on the day that Dairyland Greyhound Park announced it is closing), a majority of the Kenosha County Board voted to increase their benefit plan.
Have they no shame? Seriously, how can any of these people go out in public after this?
Here, in order, are the names and photographs of the Gang of 14 together with contact information.
James Huff (the founder of the feast), William Grady, Richard Kessler, Anita Faraone, Ronald Johnson, David Singer, Gabe Nudo, James Moore, Mark Molinaro, Jennifer Jackson, Gordon West, Kimberly Breunig, Fred Ekornaas (the former Kenosha County Sheriff - who really should know better) and Dennis Elverman.
I'm sure these people have many wonderful qualities. Undoubtedly their families love them and they're kind to small children and kittens. Still, what they did last night was an incredible betrayal of the taxpayers of Kenosha County.
Unless he's looking to commit political suicide, my guess is that this proposal will be greeted with less than open arms by the Kenosha County Executive. Still, veto or no, last night's action casts serious doubts on the ability of these 14 to continue to serve the interests of Kenosha County taxpayers.