- Associated Press - Monday, June 15, 2015
DOJ records show lab manager fired, agents suspended

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Wisconsin Department of Justice fired a crime victim technician last year for giving a grant applicant an unfair advantage and punished agents for a variety of reasons, including losing evidence, speaking with a suspect’s family and launching an unauthorized drug investigation, records show.

The Associated Press obtained DOJ’s 2014 discipline letters through an open records request. The letters indicate 15 agency employees were formally reprimanded, suspended or fired. All of the punishment was handed down under the state’s former attorney general, J.B. Van Hollen, not the current one, Brad Schimel, who took office in January.

The 15 employees represent about 2 percent of the DOJ’s roughly 675 positions. Still, every transgression can damage the reputation of an agency that holds itself up as the state’s elite crime-fighting force.

Kevin Potter, the DOJ’s records custodian, redacted the names of all but three of the punished employees from the records. He said in a cover letter that he felt the public interest in how the agency handles misconduct is served by releasing the substance of the letters without identification.

Potter didn’t redact the names of Willie Brantley and Anna King, two Milwaukee agents fired in March 2014 for letting nearly four dozen child pornography cases languish for months. Brantley’s termination was later reclassified as a retirement under a settlement. Their firings were widely reported and the DOJ released their termination letters last year. He also didn’t redact the name of Amy Lautenbach, who was fired from her post as Madison crime lab manager in July for poor performance.

The letters show the agency fired a community services technician from its Office of Crime Victims Services. A Violence Against Women Act grant applicant asked the technician that June for a form related to the grant. The technician sent the applicant the form in violation of orders that all grant applicants be treated fairly. The technician’s July termination letter said the worker lied to supervisors about sending the form and that the worker’s actions amounted to a deliberate attempt to give an applicant an unfair advantage.

DOJ records show the grant was for at least $42,500. The money was divvied up among five applicants: the Oneida Social Services Department; the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse, Inc.; People Against Domestic and Sexual Abuse; Women and Children’s Horizons, Inc.; and Reach Counseling Services.

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Audit: 1 in 11 Wisconsin doctors lagging on continuing ed

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A recent audit found nearly one in 11 licensed Wisconsin physicians were not in compliance with continuing education requirements, according to state Department of Safety and Professional Services records.

State regulators found 8 percent of doctors selected in the random audit failed to meet the requirements, the Wisconsin State Journal (https://bit.ly/1cUFqLKhttps://bit.ly/1cUFqLK ) reported. While an overwhelming majority of doctors completed their continuing education, the past chairman of the state Medical Examining Board said the requirements are not that strict.

Wisconsin’s minimum requirements are the lowest in the nation, according to Sheldon Wasserman, who left the board as chairman last year. Physicians in Wisconsin must log 30 hours of continuing medical education every two years.

“It is shocking to know that 8 percent can’t even meet the minimum standard for the nation,” Wasserman said.

The Medical Examining Board last summer began an audit of continuing education compliance for the 2011-13 licensing period for the 25,000 active physicians in Wisconsin.

The results of that audit, conducted by selecting doctors randomly and then examining continuing education credit submissions, are rippling through the department’s disciplinary system now.

A new rule that went into effect June 1 requires biennial audits of the continuing education status for physicians.

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Green Bay to consider allowing food trucks on city streets

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - City leaders in Green Bay are set to consider allowing food trucks to operate on city streets.

Press-Gazette Media (https://gbpg.net/1IExw4Chttps://gbpg.net/1IExw4C ) reports an ordinance that would let food trucks operate almost 24 hours a day, seven days a week is scheduled to go before the city’s Common Council on Tuesday. A first vote on it is set to take place.

Green Bay currently all but prohibits food trucks and trailers from operating, with the exception of doing so on private property. City officials say they would like to see more food trucks in the city as they try to draw people downtown.

The ordinance would also add new regulations for food trucks, including barring them from parking within 150 feet of restaurants.

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Information from: Press-Gazette Media, https://www.greenbaypressgazette.comhttps://www.greenbaypressgazette.com

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1 killed, 7 hurt in crash after cars stop to help driver

BELOIT, Wis. (AP) - Authorities say one person was killed and seven others were injured when a semitrailer struck three cars on a highway in southern Wisconsin after people stopped to help a woman accused of driving drunk.

The Wisconsin State Patrol says the 20-year-old Janesville woman crashed her Ford Taurus into a guardrail Saturday night on Interstate 39/90 near Beloit. The car was disabled on the highway. Drivers of two other vehicles stopped to help.

According to the state patrol, a semitrailer smashed into the Taurus and the other vehicles. A 27-year-old Lake Geneva woman in one of the other vehicles was killed, while two boys in the backseat suffered life-threatening injuries. The driver of that car was also hurt, as were three Deerfield residents in the third vehicle.

The Janesville woman was arrested and had non-life-threatening injuries.

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