With budget ax about to fall, Wisconsin Parole Commission orders $39000 in furniture – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
MADISON -Â With a budget ax poised to fall on the state Parole Commission, the agency ordered $39,500 in new furniture for its handful of employees.
The agency made the second of the twoÂ furniture orders on Feb. 7, the day before Gov. Scott Walker proposed eliminating the small commission. The totalÂ amounted to nearly $5,000 worth for each of the commission’s eight workers.
“Even if they weren’t about to be abolished, that’s still a lot of money,” said Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton), who noted that state agencies sometimes have access to surplus furniture.
A spokesman for the state Department of Corrections, which would take over the commission’s duties under Walker’s bill, said the agency is working to nix the two furniture orders.
“DOC is working to cancel or reduce the orders,” Corrections Department spokesman Tristan Cook said. “The furniture order includes eightÂ cubicles for commissioners and support staff as well as a reception area. The order was authorized by Parole Commission staff; DOC had no role in the decision to purchase the furniture.”
The orders were made through Badger State Industries, the state’s prison industry program. The first was made forÂ $36,861 on Jan. 13 âÂ one week after former chairman Dean Stensberg resigned from the agency, which sparked rumors at the Capitol that changes could be in store for the Parole Commission.
DespiteÂ that, the agency continued to purchase furniture for itself, ordering an additional $2,606 worth on Feb. 7.
Stensberg and the commission’s current chairman,Â Douglas Drankiewicz, offered no comment in response to questions.
The furniture orders were first reported by The Associated Press.
Cook, the Corrections Department spokesman, said his larger agency would try to make sure any furniture delivered is put to good use if the commission is eliminated as Walker has proposed.
“Any furniture that the Parole Commission has on Jan.Â 1, 2018, would transfer to the Department of Corrections, which will repurpose and utilize the furniture,” he said.
Erpenbach, the Democratic senator, quipped that people in the market for cubicles should still keep an eye on Craigslist.
“You might get a pretty good deal,” he said.
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