Should Wisconsin Privatize W-2 Administration?
WCCF Urges Governor to Slow Down Plans that Would End County Role
Actually, the question of whether Wisconsin should privatize W-2 administration is a bit misleading. The more precisely worded question is whether the state should completely privatize it. Since the inception of Wisconsin Works, counties have had the option of whether to administer it themselves or allow W-2 to be managed in their area by a private entity. However, that may soon change because the plan developed by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) for administering W-2 regionally would make it virtually impossible for any county or consortium of counties to administer the program in their area.
From the outset of W-2, it has been managed in Milwaukee by a number of private organizations, but counties in many other parts of the state have decided to keep administering it because they concluded that doing so would allow them to better do a better job of coordinating services and ensuring quality, compared to turning it over to organizations that are seeking to make a profit. A total of 20 individual counties and 11 consortia of counties now administer W-2.
At a press conference last week, the Wisconsin Counties Association and others (including WCCF) expressed concerns that the request for proposals (RFP) for contracts to administer W-2 has been handled by DCF in a way that has allowed little county input and will result in their exclusion from the proposed regional system for managing W-2. They asked DCF simply to slow down the process and take a little time to try to find a middle ground position.
In a letter sent to Governor Walker and DCF today, WCCF executive director Ken Taylor urged the Governor to use this issue as an opportunity to demonstrate that he is truly interested in a more open and inclusive process that strives to reduce the polarization of the last year.