Milwaukee Treasurer Spencer Coggs Needs To Rise Above Appearance Of Political Games
It is not the news that clean government folks want to hear.
Outgoing state senator and newly elected city of Milwaukee treasurer Spencer Coggs has rehired an aide who was accused by a co-worker of working on a Coggs’ campaign on state time.
Citing medical reasons, aide Enis Ragland resigned from Coggs’ Senate office on Feb. 2, which ended media coverage of the allegation as it threatened to become an issue in the April 3 treasurer’s election.
After Coggs won that race, Ragland was rehired in the senator’s office six weeks later on May 16 as a limited term employee making $29 an hour, slightly below his old salary of $29.70 an hour, according to Senate records obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel through the state open records law. Ragland is working a little less than full time – for a full-time worker the salary would amount to $60,300 a year.
At a time when a John Doe probe heats up, and seems to be grinding down on Governor Scott Walker for perhaps shady political activities while he was Milwaukee County Executive, comes today’s news about Spencer Cogg’s office.
I once knew Enis Ragland while I was working at the Capitol, and found him smart and very kind. I also really like Spencer Coggs. So it is with some degree of discomfort I write this post.
But good government needs to be advocated for in all situations.
The caucus scandal that hit the statehouse in the 1990′s, bringing down both a senate majority leader, and the speaker of the assembly should remind us there is no safe place for political chicanery when the public tax dollars are being used.
There are still too many ways political hi-jinks can occur while on state-time, and it is something that needs to be highlighted. When there is concern about the way public officials conduct the business in their office, be it personally or through the use of their staff, it needs to be taken with all seriousness.
Until the investigation of Ragland is completed there needs to be a strict separation between his employment and that of Cogg’s office. Until it is proved that there is no basis for the charge of conducting political work while on state time Ragland should not have a public paycheck.
The people of this state, wherever they live, have the right to expect the highest level of honor and credibility from those they elect to office. Clean government should be the norm in all cases, and something office holders strive to maintain.