A proposal to slash the salaries of Milwaukee County Board members is being drafted by a Republican lawmaker and promoted by the Democratic county leader.
But the real political muscle behind the legislation comes from a group that is working the issue behind the scenes:
The Greater Milwaukee Committee.
The GMC – a private group made up of local business and civic leaders – has long been interested in shaking up Milwaukee County government, especially after the 2002 pension scandal.
To get that done, GMC has formed a political nonprofit called Smart Government Inc.
As I’ve discussed earlier, the initial savings of cutting the salaries of the Milwaukee County Supervisors to $15,000 from approximately $50,000 today is a pittance at $850,000 out of a county budget of $1.348 billion. Less than 90 cents per every Milwaukee county resident and something like 0.06% of the overall budget. Even with the second part of the suggested legislation, restricting the boards annual budget to 0.25% of the county’s total tax levy still yields savings of only about $6 million.
So obviously, it’s not really about the money…it’s about the power of the Milwaukee County board! Is it also about the obstruction to the budgets and proposals of GMC’s handmaiden, County Executive Chris Abele? Not totally because GMC has been after the board longer than Exec. Abele has been in office…but apparently they think the planets are starting to align in their favor.
And they’ve hired lobbyists from the law firm of Foley and Lardner to help with the coup they are fomenting at the courthouse.
But it would be very nice to understand what they think they would get out of a defanged and declawed county board.
A little side note: if you are so inclined to comment on any of my blogs about MKE County government, I’d appreciate if you’d indicate if you are a county resident or not