I have been a citizen of Brookfield for 24 years and a member of the Brookfield Common Council for eight years, including two years as president. Many blogs in the past have contained false and distorting info about public affairs. I will provide truthful information and maintain an influence on city policy.
An article in the May 1 issue of the Business Journal about hospital volunteers has prompted me to write this. There has been an increase in interest in volunteering from newly unemployed workers. How about hospitals paying volunteers? On its face, this sounds like a real contradiction doesn't it? Why not? Hospitals, in spite of their complaints of financial losses and charity care are becoming money machines with a few exceptions like St. Michael hospital. The largest for-profit hospital chain in the country has over 600 hospitals. You can bet they're not losing money. I wonder if they hire unpaid volunteers? Let's look at the local hospitals. As far as I know, they are so-called tax exempt non profits.In their case, non profit means they have no shareholders and don't pay out dividents but can keep all the money left after the expenses are paid. Of course, they have long-term debt like we all do.However, they don't have to divulge how much cash they have on hand. They have CEO's whose annual salaries are in the seven figure bracket (miillions). They have layers of highly professional staff that are very well paid. My point is, why do hospitals need to pump up their bottom lines on the backs of minimum wage level unpaid volunteers. The idea of volunteer hospital workers goes back prior to the 20th century when hospitals were run almonst exclusively by religious orders whose members took no salary except for a small stipend and food and shelter. This custom of unpaid hospital volunteers in our current economic system is seriously outdated. Yes this will raise the cost of our health care! But in our society a person's worth and stature is determined by their contribution to this society. A fair wage for everyone who works is only fair.
Last week 5th Dist. Aldermen Berg and Mahkorn conducted a meeting for their citzens to discuss recent flooding and sewer back-ups. Mr. Berg and Mr. Mahkorn were the consumate hosts. They sat at a table facing their constituents and had a generally pleasant give and take. Mr. Tom Grisa, Director of Public Works also joined them and directly answered the technical aspects of the questions. This was one of the most competently conducted meetings. Compare this meeting to the Board of Appeals fiasco which I described in my blog of July 21.
Some days Prior to the aldermanic meeting, I happened upon a televised committee meeting on the public access channel . I never was able to guess what that meeting was about. There were about twenty people around a large table in the Common Council Chamber. Participants were talking into lapel mikes and then passing the mike along to the next person. The whole meeting was chaos and I never understood what was going on.