Dan Bohrod likes to get his morning pick-me-up from the basement cafeteria at 1 West Wilson St., the stately state office building that houses the Department of Health. On Tuesday, he was met at the main doors by two security guards at a new security desk.
Bohrod, an analyst with the city of Madison's finance department, says he flashed his city ID and was on his way, but he questions why, in a time of fiscal austerity, these new procedures have been put in place.
"Shouldn't the public be able to freely access whatever offices they need without disclosing identity or the nature of their business?" he asks. "It distances the public further from their government and it costs a bunch of money."
It's all part of a security plan that's been in the works for two years, says Beth Kaplan, spokeswoman for the Department of Health Services. The Department of Health Services and Department of Administration building, she adds, are the "only two state agency buildings that still do not have this type of security plan in place."
Under the new restrictions, which are still being phased in, visitors need to check in with security guards before gaining access, and employees must wear newly issued security badges.
Kaplan says the project costs are under $25,000, with the DOA picking up most of the tab. The cost for two guards is $45,600 a year, which will be paid for by the health department. The guards are contracted employees, Kaplan confirms. The badges and new access cards cost $8,800.