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Saturday, November 26th, 2022
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MADISON — More horror stories from the bureaucratic labyrinth that is Gov. Tony Evers’ Department of Safety and Professional Services.

Earlier this month, the Assembly’s Regulatory Licensing Reform Committee held a hearing on the severe backlog at the state licensing agency. Professionals from security officers to social workers testified about the dysfunction at DSPS. The trials continue.

Kate Magruder told state Rep. Shae Sortwell’s office that she completed and submitted her final requirement for licensure as a psychologist on Aug. 23, 2021 and it wasn’t until Jan. 12, 2022 that she received her license.

“Across that 5 month time span, I sent an email every other day for ~3 months and then toward the end, I called the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services daily for nearly 6 weeks,” Magruder wrote in a complaint to the office of Sortwell, a Two Rivers Republican who chairs the Licensing Reform committee.

“With those phone calls, I was placed on hold for 45-75 minutes, promised I was being redirected to speak with someone in a leadership/management role, then sent to a voicemail,” she added. “No one ever called me back until the last 3 weeks. It was unbelievable.”

That’s a common refrain.

“Last week alone, I spent over 9 hours on hold without reaching anyone in the substance abuse department (one time I was on hold for 5 hours straight with no answer),” a constituent told state Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt’s office.

The Evers administration has blamed the Republican-controlled Legislature, charging lawmakers have not provided adequate funding. But documents obtained by Wisconsin Spotlight show routine failures by the agency to perform basic services, such as picking up the phone or properly filing and updating paperwork.

Legislative offices tell Wisconsin Spotlight they are still receiving complaints and working with constituents to resolve their licensing delays.

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