Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Scrima drama bad for city health


Waukesha Freeman, Page A5,  March 13, 2014 

Scrima drama bad for city health

We’re less than three weeks away from the mayoral election and Mayor Jeff Scrima has managed to create more drama. At the last minute (again) Scrima announced his opposition to the proposed health care clinic joint venture with the county and the Waukesha School District.

Let’s first note that it’s a joint venture, not just a county health care clinic. The city had a representative on the request for proposal process, and Scrima agreed a year ago to continue exploring the joint venture.

The only thing new and surprising about this whole adventure is Scrima’s sudden support for a vendor, ProHealth Care, that finished last in the RFP process.

Contrary to ProHealth Care’s assertion, the county did entertain their suggestion of not having a single on-site clinic. However, none of the treatment locations in their proposal were actually in the city of Waukesha. But even more important, their proposal would actually have cost taxpayers $2 million.

That’s in contrast to the $7 million in savings in the proposal by Healthstat, including $1.1 million for the city of Waukesha. Contrary to what Scrima again told an audience Tuesday night, that savings would be built into the contract and is not just an estimate.

Scrima is even misinforming city employees, telling them they will have to use the clinic. That’s simply not true. This isn’t Obamacare. City employees will still be able to use their own doctors, even if those doctors work for ProHealth Care.

But for some reason, Scrima is willing to support ProHealth Care’s desire to overturn the RFP process. If he had concerns about the service provider or the process, last week was the first that anyone heard them publicly. Now in some last-minute Scrima drama, the mayor is willing to throw away millions in taxpayer money.

Didn’t Scrima learn anything when he was spending taxpayer money to attend those seminars at Harvard Business School?

But what’s especially galling is how Scrima is upsetting the whole RFP process to help a top-tier contributor to his pet cause, GuitarTown. ProHealth Care is listed on the GuitarTown website and advertisements as a major sponsor of Scrima’s side project. But despite the clear conflict of interest, Scrima is still the willing point man for ProHealth Care’s desire to tear apart the bidding process.

City employees should be thankful Gibson Guitar doesn’t run health care clinics. Mandatory music therapy for everyone!

For city of Waukesha taxpayers, Health-Stat is a win-win-win. City taxpayers would save at the city level, at the county level, and with the school district.

But if the city rejects the joint venture now, Waukesha will be left with an outcome tainted by the mayor’s conflict of interest. Vendors will be reluctant to trust the city’s bid process going forward, lest some favored vendor get a “do-over” after the bids are submitted. City workers will have worse health care options. And taxpayers will lose.

All because of another last-minute dramatic stunt by Scrima.

*** Tuesday night’s mayoral debate took place at the Waukesha County Museum. Ironic, since Mayor Jeff Scrima has publicly supported folding the historical society, shipping the contents of the building to the city library, and selling off the historical old County Courthouse to probably be torn down.

The historical society at the old courthouse is also home to the Les Paul museum exhibit. Curiously, that exhibit does not benefit from all of the GuitarTown activity that is Scrima’s favorite pastime. Scrima and his supporters use Les Paul’s body to raise money for GuitarTown but none of it goes to the permanent tribute to the man. (see correction below – JW)

As we’re learning the hard way with the proposed health clinic, perhaps if Paul wanted his memory to be treated more respectfully he should have requested a fiberglass painted guitar instead of a headstone.

(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)



What I wrote, “Scrima and his supporters use Les Paul’s body to raise money for GuitarTown but none of it goes to the permanent tribute to the man.” What I should have written was, “Scrima and his supporters use Les Paul’s body to raise money for GuitarTown but none of it currently goes to the permanent tribute to the man.”

There was a donation in 2012 but no donation (despite all the fundraising using the Les Paul name) in 2013. I deeply regret the error.   – JW 3/13/2014

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