Friday, February 20, 2009

A Bad Day at Work

The recession really hits home for me today, as we have to say good-bye to our reporter Kate Fetterly. Layoffs mean we have to let Kate go after just five months on the job.

Kate came to Oshkosh committed to starting a new life. It's not my place to talk about the details of her situation, but let's just say most of us would not have wanted to follow the same path Kate took to WOSH. But she was strong and gave up pretty much everything to come here and start all over. Kate was even looking forward to assimilating into the "culture" of Oshkosh. I laugh every time I think about how excited she was about getting her first bowling ball and bowling shoes. All she needed was a sturgeon spear and you would have mistaken her for a native.

But now, those dreams of change here in Oshkosh are gone--at least as a broadcaster--taken away by the past mistakes of consumers, bankers and politicians that have come back to haunt us now. I am angry that someone who tries to play by the rules and is just trying to get back on their feet is knocked down again in such a way. It's easy to pontificate (as I often do) about personal responsibility from the position of financial and personal security that I enjoy. But what do you say to the person who is trying to get things straightened out--but just can't get past the starting line?

For all of it's faults and pork, the federal stimulus package does have some good things to it--like extended unemployment benefits, money for states to increase uninsurance compensation payments and financial assistance for COBRA payments. These are responsible, caring provisions that make sense as we enter what I still fear will be an extended period of economic malaise. And they don't commit us to huge programs that will just keep sucking life out of the national economic engine--and keep some people from ever getting ahead.

So I will miss Kate and all of the good work she has done for us here at WOSH. Given her determination, she'll fight her way through this latest setback and find success somewhere else. If anyone could use a bright and hard-working young woman on their staff, feel free to let us know.


  1. I'm sad to read about Kate - hopes and best wishes to her.

  2. Aw, that's a real shame, Jonathan. I'm sorry to hear about it. I sure hope she lands on her feet. Like I say, a recession ain't bad if you're employed and not much in debt, but for someone just starting out to lose their job, that's totally a bad thing. Our best wishes and thoughts to her in this tough time.

  3. Kate is another victim of our poor economy, as it continues it's downward spiral.

    Kate was a good reported for WOSH, she is just another example of bad things happening to good people.

    Kate and those in the private sector like her are constant reminders to me of how upsetting it is when we see the BOE blindly pass 3.8% wage increases to public sector employees.

    Now these employees did nothing special to earn the extra compensation, except exist on their jobs for another year.

    We taxpayers should be furious at our elected officals for continuing to hand out cash in the form of increased wages or benefits to these public sector employees. Our fiends, neighbors and family are struggling to just hold on to their jobs, and then we see teachers, administrators and other city and county workers receive wage and benefit increases, all at the expense of the taxpayers.

    Good luck Kate.

  4. Looks like you subscribe to the union principle (as you should): last hired, first fired.

  5. Good luck Kate.

    You sounded good on the air.

    I know personally how tough it is to be talented and lose a job. Good luck to Cummulus in producing a quality news product in very tough economic times.

  6. Before you complain about the 3.8% raise teachers get "just for existing" (come on, do you really believe that? Crawl out from under your rock) let's think back to when the QEO was first implemented.

    QEO was implemented by your buddy, Tommy Thompson, and the repulican legislature. It was during the boom of the stock market, when the public sector wages were increasing sometimes in double digit percentages. The QEO was a penalty for those in education. It limited their salary growth when the rest of the state was flourishing.

    Jump ahead 10 years, to the economic downturn. Now the same people that greedily limited teachers' pay raises (YOU) are the same assholes demanding the 3.8% affords them too much.

    Are you kidding me? Would you make up your damn mind?

  7. If I had my way, they'd fire that cranky whiner Rich Allen and give Kate his job; she'd be FAR more pleasant to listen to than his perpetual negativity. Looking forward to him being gone this next week. Does he have to come BACK?

  8. "Now the same people that greedily limited teachers' pay raises (YOU) are the same assholes demanding the 3.8% affords them too much."

    I would not only freeze the pay and benefits for teachers and administrators, I'd downsize the staff.

    Our enrollement is declining in Oshkosh, so should our instructional labor.

  9. I absolutely agree...if the student population is declining, you can reduce teachers. But freeze pay...thank God for contracts. You are one of those that talk out of both sides of your mouth.

  10. ...thank God for contracts.

    Contracts are made to be broken, but unfortunately we have a Doyle who is a slave to WEAC the teachers union.

  11. Just like your right wing buddies are slaves to groups like big oil and the NRA. No one's disputing it. Welcome to politics. What goes around comes around.


  12. I am a union employee, but somewhat torn over both sides. We have taken less of a pay raise over the past few years, and also contribute ALOT more to our health care, etc. While I agree that the teacher's union, like all others, must step back and look at belt tightening, I also know that teacher's today are expected to do MUCH more than teachers back in my day.

    First of all, I was expected to eat breakfast at home. We walked home for lunch, no meals whatsoever were provided, no milk break or other snack.On the first day of school, our desk was filled with all of our necessary school supplies. We didn't get a list to take home for our parents to buy. That's what they paid taxes for. Our parents were expected to feed us and discipline us. If we got into trouble, the parents sided with the teacher, and we got our butts kicked at home. Now, teachers have to worry about being sued every time they hurt little Johnny or Cindy's "self esteem." Then, the parents come with the kid to court for truancy, and after letting the kid stay home and do NOTHING for months on end, tell the judge that they will now be "home schooled." Yeah, right. Just another way to avoid responsibility and fly under the radar. While I'm not for unlimited salaries for anyone, teachers have had to shore up the responsibilities of parents and social workers alike, and it is NOT easy. My daughter plans to teach next year (if she can find a job). I wish her luck.

  13. Some comments from Appleton voters regarding their recently defeated referendum questions.

    Seems there is a fair amount of rage out there. Maybe Oshkosh is next.

    Constitutionman wrote:
    It was recently revealed that the average annual salary (not the starting salary) for an Appleton schoolteacher is around $55,000. That means that a married couple, both schoolteachers, have an average household income exceeding $100,000! That's in addition to gold-plated health and pension benefits. Three-month summer vacations and other leave time results in a schoolteacher being in the classroom just 180 days out of the year. Sweet! Every retired schoolteacher I have ever met is doing very well financially, and many of them can retire before the age of 60!
    I have a masters degree, am in my fifties, and make less than $40,000/year. As long as schoolteachers are doing so much better than I am, I won't be voting for any spending increases!

    wihogfan wrote:
    I respect what teacher's do for a living. I have no problem with what teacher's make for a living nor do I have a problem with the amount of time they get off- I'm envious of it, but if I wanted that then I could have made teaching my career and I don't have the patience to do what they do.

    But I do take issue with the idea that teachers in general work more hours or harder than people in other professions. Some might, but it's been my experience that jobs that pay as much or better then the teaching profession almost always require way more than 40 hours a week. That's why it's important that you enjoy what you do for a living.

    And while I don't have a problem with what teacher's make, the issue raised in this letter is that teacher's are being given raises when many of the taxpayers who pay their salaries aren't or are without work. Stating that teacher's should have their pay frozen at this time is not the same as saying that they don't earn what they make.

    Muggz wrote:
    I know plenty of Teachers that earn their pay, but that does not mean they DESERVE mandatory pay increases every year regardless of the nations economic status... the administrators and the teachers all need to share in our nations current turmoil, they can no longer be sealed in a bubble oblivious to what is going on around them!

    Saying pay more or all of our kids will be stupid is a moronic stance on this BS referendum....
    there is a time and place for everything, and this is not it.

    daisy21 wrote:
    Do you know what the contribution is of teachers to purchase their health insurance and to help fund their retirement plan? I don't and would certainly think it would be helpful if the P-C printed this information so the public knows what their tax dollars are buying.
    Many companies are putting their 401K contributions on hold. Employees are being asked to decrease their work hours in order that others don't get laid off. Before the taxpayers are asked to fork over any more money to our school district, I would like to know what the employees of the District are going to sacrifice in order to keep others employed. If 85% of the District budget is going towards salary and benefits, this would be the logical place to look for concessions.

    There are many other jobs where people don't work 9 to 5 either. If you've got a meeting after hours, you go. Most of these other jobs don't allow them to have a 3 month vacation in the summer, a full week or more off at Christmas, a week at Easter, several days at Thanksgiving, etc.
    Teachers do work hard (although many of the teachers at my kids grade school are out the door the minute the bell rings), but so do lots of other people who don't get the amount of time off and the Cadillac benefits that teachers do.

    dlbsundrop wrote:
    Referendums are a band-aid approach to an ongoing problem. Taxpayers need to demand a more permanent solution to out of control school budgets. I find it disheartening that 85% of the budget is salaries and benefits leaving only 15% spent on our children. School boards need to look in the right place to balance the budget and it isn't the 15% part of the budget. School district employee benefits need to be put in line with the private sector. This is a big problem and the real reason there are referendums. You never hear that there is not enough money in the school district budget for benefits. That is because taxpayer dollars are allocated there first and our kids get what is left over. So of course the school district needs to call for a referendum, "because it's for the kids."

    dlbsundrop wrote:
    Until something is done to get the 85% part of the budget under control you will always have referendums. When school administrators look for areas to cut school budgets they should compare the benefits they receive (It's not just teachers) to the benefits of the average taxpayer. Administration should set an example for the teachers union by voluntarily taking the first step to getting this part of the budget under control. After all "It's for the kids."

    magicmen wrote:
    The original letter makes a good point; that jobs could be saved if the union agreed to take a wage cut. Nobody is making them take one and, if the referendum fails, some of them will be terminated, but most will remain. Unfortunately, these things always get down to who works harder for their money. I'm of the theory that if you think a teaching job is full of perks, go to school and become one. If you become one, quit telling everyone else how hard it is. I personally could not do the job, no matter how much or little it paid. But there are many people that would find my job hard or not rewarding. And if you think that I'm just some unappreciative slacker, add about 400 hours to your 2080, get paid for 2000 and we'll talk about tough years.

    daisy21 wrote:
    I'm sure that there are some teachers who are doing some of their work during their many days off from school. However, there are many that aren't. Due to being in a union, those who work hard and excel don't always get paid for that effort versus what those who don't work as hard get. There are also many in occupations outside of teaching who put in many hours outside of the office, as well as extra hours within the office. They don't get the summer off usually. All I'm saying is that everyone is making sacrifices these days. Teachers should be no exception.

    schef wrote:
    How about a 70K earned income (a teacher at Foster elementary school, bachelor's degree, 17 years experience, music teacher, salary and benefits $78,687.00), loaded with health insurance, a nice retirement package, no opportunity of getting let off due to your performance, and you only work eight months out of the twelve month period. The trouble here is the Union. I personally know a pair of professionals who comprised to take pay reductions just to preserve their jobs, yet the teachers keep receiving their gains in pay. What is the difference? The market or the tax payer. Where is the accountability? If the local private high schools used this pay system their astounding graduation rates and advancement to higher education would be drastically diminished. Thank you parochial schools for your accountable education standards without draining the taxpayer. What is up with the Administrators pay, do we need that many high paying positions in the Appleton School system?

  14. They'are all hypocrites like you are, 10:41.

  15. 1:20 the whole world is wrong, but you're right.

    Ok...go drink another glass of your special kool-aid!

  16. Good luck Kate. Maybe check out a teacher job. At least you'll always get raises and never have to worry about layoffs. We'll miss your voice on WOSH.

  17. These public sector unions should watch the auto industry. GM will be closing more plants and layoff some 20,000 more UAW workers. The UAW is also opening up negotiations and will likely conceed 5-7 dollars per hour to be more in-line with foreign auto makers. All this is not even discussing healthcare concessions the UAW will make. Unions have ridden the gravey train too long. Consumers have paid far too much for the labor output by these people. Their chickens are now coming home to roost. When will this story be shift to be about public sector unions (teachers and city workers).

  18. Speaking of "Bad Days"

    I'm sure glad our School Board Prez. is almost...outtahere.

    What a "presentation" she put on at the Grand.

    Check out the pics at

    Between that one and the one with her dressed...well you can check out the rest of the pics, I don't think she is the best representative for our kids in the way she dresses.

    The way she dressed at the HS Commencement last summer was horrible as well. I think she is trying to be more like a Freshman girl rather than a BOE representative.

    Good riddence,

  19. You people with youu worn out, tired ass comments about Weinsheim's dress code and union benefits are pathetic...You're unoriginal, unintelligent, and jealous...Get over yourselves, get a better education so you can get a better job, and get your lazy ass off the computer so you can get started.

  20. Beer puts hair on a man's chest. If wannabee mayor Esslinger could only get it to grow on his head.

  21. You may not like Amy Weinsheim but she's out there doing something to raise money for a good cause and she's given a lot of time to her community. That's more than can be said for certain bloggers who just flame about wardrobe and such. I'll stand by someone with a kind heart instead of a judgmental ass any day of the week.

  22. Oh 1:22, you clearly do not understand theater. You might be better off not commenting on things so foreign to your UN-intelligence level.

  23. I know one thing.
    Greedy CEO's contributed to the financial melt-down we're in.
    Greedy unions are just as bad.
    And authority figures trying to be kids themselves are setting a poor example.

  24. >>Check out the pics at<<

    Ho ho ho! THAT is what you're upset about? A skimpy costume in a THEATRE production??? Oh, good lord! Do you also put dust-ruffles on all your tables to avoid the scandalous sight of their naked "limbs"??? Here's a newsflash, Queen Victoria: the 19th Century is OVER! Get a life! If THAT is the worst you've got to criticize the lady with, she's leading a better life than most of us! Oh, thanks for the laugh, clown!

  25. "Just like your right wing buddies are slaves to groups like big oil and the NRA. No one's disputing it. Welcome to politics. What goes around comes around."

    ACtually, the problems are not because of the right wing buddies.

    It is because of Republicans acting like Democrats and the Democrats that are socialists.

    Small government, less debt, not burdening our future generations with todays problems. You liberals and liberal republicans need to get a clue. Socialist Obama has borrowed more in his few weeks in office than liberal Bush did in 2 years in office. What will the socialist Obama borrow after one year?

    Did anyone read about Obama's cabinet pretty much all drivin' foreign cars? At same time they are given 2 of the "big three" money for a bailout. HMMMMM.

    Last time I checked, 2 years ago when these liberal Republicans were in charge before Pelosi and Harry REid were in charge, things were a tad bad. NOw they are great depression bad. And all these socialists and liberals can do is extend their hand further, for more money.

    Kind of like our school board!