Wisconsin State Capitol - 2/21/11
Perhaps taking his cues from the sniveling and dismissive State Sen. Glenn Grothman, who called the Wisconsin protesters "slobs", Gov. Scott Walker has sought a bid to clean up the Capitol building. His figures are a little dumbfounding:
Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch said the original $7.5 million estimate to repair marble damaged by tape was a "high-end“ estimate. An updated report from DOA says a majority of the nearly $350,000 would cover a crew to perform "very limited“ restoration on marble as well as landscape restoration.
DOA originally said it would need $7 million to repair damage and between $60,000 and $500,000 just to assess the condition of the building.
$7.5 million for removing tape? Holy FSM. No wonder the guy has trouble balancing the budget. Turns out that even the $350,000 downgraded estimate is more than a little ridiculous too.
Like many, [the Center for Media and Democracy] was stunned to hear that Walker's lawyers told a court that it would cost over seven million dollars to clean up the tape on the stone walls and railings. After criticism, the state's lawyers acknowledged that this absurd figure was on "the high end" and then suggested that the cost could be "as low as $347,500," if "restoration specialists" were not needed. The state asserted that its figures were "an educated guess." Based on whose education is unknown.
The Wisconsin State Journal contacted a local art conservator to see how Walker could have possible derived such ridiculous sums. But she had a hard time making the numbers make sense.
[..]Middleton art conservator Meghan Thumm Mackey assert[ed] that at $100 an hour it would cost $6 million to clean up the inside of the capitol, plus a million for the outside, in addition to a $500,000 initial assessment fee, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Mackey noted that painter's tape that is left on too long can require the use of acetone (the main ingredient in nail polish remover) and cotton swabs.[..] Mackey did note that the state's initial estimate of $7.5 million seemed "high."
Luckily, the janitorial staff who actually has extensive experience cleaning the marble walls and floors and metal railings at the Capitol have weighed in. According to Sean Heiser, the Association of Federal, State, County, and Municipal Employees field supervisor who oversees an eight-person team that keeps the Capitol clean, the clean-up can be accomplished with readily available solvents and the damage claimed is "just not there."
The mendacity of Walker truly knows no bounds.
UPDATE: Actually, more of a clarification. The article above quotes art conservator Meghan Thumm Mackey's interpretation of the Walker clean up estimate. Mackey is not the originator of the estimate, nor would she be in charge of or profit from said clean up. As the CMD wrote in their update:
In response to her request CMD wishes to make extra clear that Ms. Mackey was not involved in the initial estimate of the clean-up costs by the state. Ms. Mackey was simply asked by the WSJ what the cost per hour of such expertise was, after-the-fact. We regret the error based on the print version of that story that the extrapolation of that rate with the size of the building and assessment was attributed to her based on the proximity in the WSJ article between her estimate and the story's discussion of the extrapolation of the cost of restoration and assessment for such expertise. To be absolutely clear, Ms. Mackey was not consulted by the state in its estimate.
Any insinuation of Mackey's involvement is unintentional and unfair and I apologize for the misconception.