Report: Retroactive OT ordered for Walker security detail

Written by the Associated Press

 

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Federal authorities are ordering retroactive overtime for Wisconsin State Patrol officers who serve as bodyguards for Gov. Scott Walker and other state officials, a television station reported.

 
The U.S. Department of Labor is requiring the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to award overtime pay dating to May 19, 2013, to nine State Patrol officers, WKOW-TV reported Friday. Those officers make up Wisconsin's Dignitary Protection Unit, which provides security for Walker 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That includes the Republican's protection on the presidential campaign trail. Since the State Patrol is a division of the state Transportation Department, the officers are paid out of that agency's budget.
 
WISDOT spokeswoman Peg Schmitt told WKOW the agency was notified of the decision Monday but said that officials have not yet determined how much it will cost state taxpayers.
 

Rhonda Burke, a Labor Department spokeswoman in Chicago, told the station she did not yet know if the decision was handed out in response to a complaint. If a complaint was filed alleging overtime was not being correctly paid, federal wage and hour investigators would ask to examine payroll records, including hours worked and rates of pay, to ensure the state was paying overtime in accordance with the law, she said.

 
Burke did not immediately reply to Associated Press email requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Walker referred comment to Schmitt, who did not immediately respond to an email request Saturday.
 
The cost for Walker's security detail jumped from $1.6 million in 2011 to $2.4 million in 2014, WKOW reported. The outof-state portion of that 2014 tab was $89,454, a number which is expected to rise in 2015 with his run for the GOP presidential nomination.
 
State Rep. Katrina Shankland, DStevens Point, and state Sen. Dave Hansen, DGreen Bay, announced a new legislative proposal last week that would require any state elected official who is running for — or even considering running for —higher office to submit a monthly travel form with the Government Accountability Board that explains what costs were incurred and who paid for them. Any campaign costs incurred by taxpayers would have to be reimbursed in a timely manner.
 
Both Shankland and Hansen cite the Labor Department's overtime decision as an example of a lack of transparency associated with Walker's security expenses.
 

"Instead of waiting for the federal government to step in, the state should have paid these officers the overtime pay they were owed to begin with," Shankland said.