In other words - Deer in the headlights.
The article focuses on a hearing held the day before surrounding the creation of a possible incentive program for reporting fraud. I made mention of the bill when it was originally introduced in May and said this:
Is there really so much mismanagement in state government that it requires two hotlines? Then, on top of that, is it really that waste, fraud, and mismanagement aren't being reported because there isn't a monetary reward at the end? This doesn't even begin to address how much this will cost the state in investigating wild goose chases.
Hey, here's an idea! Maybe people aren't reporting waste, fraud, and mismanagement because they are afraid for their jobs!!! You know, state workers used to have a mechanism to provide more protection against termination? Well, that is until 2011 Act 10 made collective bargaining illegal.Well, the Journal-Sentinel article from yesterday opens with the following:
Madison — A Republican bill that would create a "fraud hotline" — where individuals who reported waste, fraud or mismanagement could collect up to 5% of the savings — encountered concerns from officials in Gov. Scott Walker's administration.
"I guess I didn't expect the response I am hearing from these agencies," the bill's co-author, Sen. Richard Gudex (R-Fond du Lac), said during a committee hearing Wednesday. "I find this very troubling that we are throwing obstacles onto this (and not) grabbing onto it and seeing this as a help.In other words, he's surprised that people have picked apart his idea becuase he didn't think it fully through. Yup, exactly the person I want in the legislature, someone who didn't expect responses from agencies when introducing legislation...
So, what exactly are the concerns?
Various state agency representatives latched onto the many unknowns contained in the bill and raised questions about the definition of terms, how the amount of savings would be estimated and whether there would be a ceiling to the maximum amount of money a person could gain by reporting problems.
"We are looking at some difficulties here on administering this," said Sara Buschman, assistant deputy secretary at the Department of Children and Families. "We share the committee's concern about the vagueness of the word 'mismanagement.' ... They may have a different opinion of what mismanagement is than my department."
The confusion was mostly due to the specifics of the bill, which if passed will be written by the Department of Administration. The DOA instead of the Legislature would write the final rules because of the complex and varying issues that arise when applying a law to different agencies, according to (Chad) Weininger (R-Green Bay).Oh, and then again there is the argument you and I probably already jumped to - revenge. Again, from the article:
"There are a lot of revenge calls," said Michael Wagner, a legislative adviser for the Department of Revenue, in reference to people who turn in former partners for tax fraud. He said the department reviews the calls but said adding extra financial incentives might dramatically increase the number of bogus tips.
"We have been getting a lot better at detecting fraud," said Wagner. "We don't see that we would get a lot of benefit from this program."Well, no wonder Sen. Gudex is getting push-back from agencies. They don't think they would get a lot of bennefit from this proposal! But, that's never stopped our "favorite" State Sen. from making an argument for legislation:
Gudex, who sits on the Senate Committee on Government Operations, Public Works and Telecommunications, told colleagues that the bill provides an incentive for people to report governmental waste and save taxpayer money.
"Why would I want to pick up the phone and report my relative or neighbor or a friend who is abusing the system" without a financial incentive?" Gudex said. "This is one small thing we can do as a legislative body to make sure we are utilizing taxpayer dollars correctly."Know what would make people more likely to report waste, fraud, abuse? Making sure they feel like they are protected in their job and free from retribution from either their bosses or other employees. If only there was some way they could have those guarantees, you know, an agreement of some type that is worked on between workers and the state.
Funny notion, job security and due process protections aren't they?