Tool of the Week: Tony Evers, bureaucratic bungler

Empower Wisconsin | Oct. 24, 2022

MADISON — The absentee governor has done it again.

Gov. Tony Evers has compromised public safety in numerous ways. From appointing a Wisconsin Parole Commission chairman who set free hundreds of killers and rapists to moving slowly while riot-ravaged Kenosha burned, the Democrat has put lives and communities at risk.

Now, his bureaucratic incompetence is proving dangerous to life, limb and property.

As Empower Wisconsin has chronicled, Evers’ dysfunctional Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) has made untold numbers of professionals wait months — some a year or more — for their licenses. That includes health care workers delayed in doing their critical jobs. 

The agency’s bumbling also is stalling private security employees from getting licensed. That’s troubling, particularly in the Milwaukee area, where rising crime is a significant concern and a major issue in next month’s election.

“I am emailing you about unacceptable licensing delays with the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS),” Isaiah Baker, Chief of Field Operations for Advanced Private Police, a private security firm in South Milwaukee, wrote in an urgent letter last week to lawmakers.

Baker explained that the spike in crime has led to high demand for security services. While the worker shortage has been a problem, now the security company’s biggest hurdle is the Evers’ administration’s failure to process security licenses.

“As a state regulated profession, our licensing goes through the DSPS which has delayed issuance of licenses for all professions. Our company has seen delays up to 52 days for an individual’s licensing as of October 17, 2022,” Baker wrote.

In one case, an employee applied on Aug. 26. The security firm sent DSPS the required finger print report. As of Wednesday, DSPS had failed to conduct the review or to proceed to further processing.

Like so many other business representatives Empower Wisconsin has spoken to, Baker said he’s getting nowhere with a state agency that refuses to return calls and emails.

“I have attempted to contact DSPS on numerous occasions, through both phone and email. Each time, I was transferred to the Security Credentialing department, and would sit on hold until the system forced me to leave a voicemail,” the security official said. “I have yet to receive a return call or email. Many other members of our team have also attempted to contact DSPS with the same lack of success.”

Incompetence kills. And the tool at the top of Wisconsin’s executive branch has presided over a license crisis putting public safety in peril.

For that reason, Gov. Tony Evers, once again, is Empower Wisconsin’s Tool of the Week.

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