consultants are sandburs

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Two ABC Newspaper online items, one giving notice of an adult health survey to be conducted in Anoka County.

First, there is Sakry's report of the Elvig trial resulting in a jury guilty verdict, here. As usual with Sakry's reporting, it is tightly written but detailed. Have a look. No excerpt needed.

The one aspect of the report that I will digress on, Sakry reported Elvig's defense attorney to be "Richard Malacko" and while I could not track down a specific business website for him, it appears from contact info given here that he is affiliated with noted Twin Cities defense attorney Earl Gray.

Everyone should know of a defense attorney, if ever needed, and if in custody and/or subjected to any police questioning where self-incrimination is even a remote possibility, nobody should do anything but exercise the Constitutional right to counsel, while declining to say anything beyond making the request for counsel, until counsel can be contacted and then you follow what the lawyer says, as he/she knows more of what's best than you do. Some police personnel might prefer you do otherwise, that being something that can make their job easier, but others - I cannot say most vs a minority - have due respect for the rights of every citizen under our Constitution, including those such as Miranda warnings, need for probable cause to arrest or search, etc.

County Adult Health Survey. It appears the survey will be by randomized selection and mailing; detail reported online, here. The report states

The survey will be mailed to approximately 3,300 households starting the third week of April and asks questions about residents’ access to health care, nutrition, physical activity, tobacco use and other social, physical and mental health-related issues.

Results will provide specific data on health risk behaviors and the overall health status of adult residents in the county.

All households have an equal chance of being sampled [... and] information gathered from individuals will be confidential.

Wilder Research, based in St. Paul, will be conducting the survey on behalf of Anoka County Community Health and Environmental Services.

Okay, that last paragraph put me on point - can any reader help, is Wilder Research a generic survey firm, or one having a past history of political survey work for one of the two major parties in Minnesota? The process of choosing a survey consultant piques my interest as much as detail of what will be surveyed and how the data will be used.

So, is there any crony or partisan dimension to the choice or Wilder Research, or not? I know nothing of the firm, and have no cause to believe partisanship/cronyism at play, but it is something we, as citizens, should always be aware of as a possibility, since our vigilance can lessen likelihoods of partisan abuse.

For those interested, there is a Wilder Research web presence suggesting it to be a fully professional operation; e.g., here, here, here, and here listing staff. If any of those staff names ring any reader's partisanship bell, please leave a comment.

Online, the only political thing I found, a Wilder employee exercising personal rights, in a pro-DFL manner; but one person does not prove any trend.

The foundation publishes an online financial statement, and is noted here, for awareness of 501(c)(3) cautionary awareness, per listed publication 7, "Avner, Marcia. The Lobbying and Advocacy Handbook for Nonprofit Organizations, (Amherst H. Wilder Foundation)."

With the present county board having a Republican majority, and with a Wilder Foundation awareness of the rules, it looks to be a squeaky clean choice of consultancy. No local legislator on the consultancy payroll sort of stuff; and with but one individual actively supporting DFL candidacies being all I found. It is no GOP hotbed being favored by a GOP dominated county board, or at least that appearance seems wholly absent, which is good. Reader comment is welcome.

UPDATE: One further Wilder publication listed as a reference re "Strategic Planning and the Public Sector," here, "Barry, Bryan W. (1997). Strategic planning workbook for nonprofit organizations. St. Paul, MN: Amherst H. Wilder Foundation." Photo caption, hosting a debate, here. It all looks sound and fully above board, crony free, and that's great. That being said despite a strong bias and skepticism about the general efficacy of planners and planning. Having objective survey based data on adult health parameters in Anoka County before any policy decisions about county adult healthcare only makes sense. Otherwise policy is set in a vacuum.

__________FURTHER UPDATE__________
PiPress publishes on the Elvig trial outcome, adding no real substantive detail beyond what Strib and ABC Newspapers already have online.

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