Mayor Rohn Bishop talks about corrections officer jobs in Waupun

Mayor Rohn Bishop:
I have always been on the Republican side. And when Bill 10 was passed, I supported it and it did a lot to give local municipal governments, like me, school boards, more control over their local activities. And it’s good. This saved taxpayers a lot of money. I understand why they went to corrections too. They needed to intervene on retirement benefits and health insurance because of the cost and we had a state budget deficit. Hindsight is 20/20, but at the time I said I wish they would find a way to allow correctional officers to unionize for safety and security reasons. Their main concern is their safety and their safe return home. And then politically, like the correctional officers, they were Republican supporters in the Thompson era. They moved away from that. I think Republican elected officials didn’t care enough because they didn’t vote for them. And the Democratic Party is softer on crime, for lack of a better way to put it, and I don’t think anyone cared. And that went on for 14 years and it led to their pay wasn’t very good for what they were doing, the benefits weren’t as attractive as they were, and morale went down. And in corrections, it was generational work. “My dad worked there, I worked there,” and then their kid worked there. What happened after 2010 was people were saying, “Don’t come work here. Don’t do it. And it spread through the community and people stopped doing it and that wasn’t a good thing. What is also very sad is that after these new salary increases introduced in the latest state budget, you can see in the Prison Academy classes that the numbers are on the rise. People are coming back to work for corrections. They are getting there, I would say that within two years, the vacancy rate will come down to a manageable level and the prison will be able to return to what it was. And then it makes headlines. And I can understand why that would deter people from wanting to work in corrections, because a lot of them are just doing their job and I think they’ve gotten caught up in something bigger than themselves.