Whither MKE Cnty: When Will County Chair Dimitrijevic Drop The Other Shoe

In all of the public discussion about reforming Milwaukee County Government…well, let me rephrase that, declawing the Milwaukee County Board, the county board supervisors for the most part had remained on the sidelines until recently. That seemed a little odd since it is their jobs that are at stake.

At the apparent behest of County Executive Chris Abele and his cohorts at the Greater Milwaukee Committee, freshman State Representative Joe Sanfelippo proposed cutting the board to part time pay status and gut their budget to an unimaginable state.

Through the early stages the board was silent…and while Exec Chris Abele goaded the board, County Board Chair Marina Dimitrijevic quietly replied about balance of power and local control and we should decide this locally. All fairly civil and when any heavy lifting needed to be done, County Supervisor John Weishan was called into duty.

Well this past week we’ve now seen the conservative side start to play into the reform movement with freshman County Supervisor Deanna Alexander holding a town hall to talk about reform, then accuse the board of censoring her attempts to do her job, calling for dropping healthcare for all county employees to save money, calling for a state audit of county government (although I give her credit for including the county execs office in the audit), and Supervisors Taylor and Borkowski’s call to reduce the board from 18 to 13 and cutting the budget by 40%.

In response to the Taylor – Borkowski proposal, Chair Dimitrijevic:

County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic said the Taylor-Borkowski plan probably was one of several that would come from supervisors on reforming county government. The discussion on changes should not focus solely on the County Board, but include a broad discussion of efficiencies and improvements across county government, she said.

“If we are going to make a significant change, it’s going to cover all areas of the county,” including the county executive’s office, Dimitrijevic said.

It’s important that the push for county reforms is done locally rather than dictated by the Legislature, she said.

So…the Taylor-Borkowski plan would probably be one of several from county supervisors…so when will the other shoe drop? When will we see the proposal from the county supervisors who traditionally work with Chair Dimitrijevic? The roaring silence from their part of the courthouse should indicate they are working on something:

Dimitrijevic did not endorse a particular reform idea or timeline for action.

“I can’t talk about a timeline until I know there’s a consensus on this local discussion,” Dimitrijevic said.

But what type of consensus? With the citizens of Milwaukee County or just her bloc of county supervisors? I am sure that it won’t include County Executive Chris Abele!

Whither MKE Cnty: Abele: It’s Not Personal!

Since the original proposal to blow up Milwaukee County Government was passed through State Representative Joe Sanfelippo’s office, it has been given unqualified support from County Executive Chris Abele. And on numerous occasions, Executive Abele has been quoted as saying, his desire to reform and rein in the county board isn’t personal…

But in an article on jsonline, Exec Abele is quoted as saying, ” supervisors can’t be trusted to reform themselves.” And Steve Schutlze of the Journal Sentinel wrote in the same article:

Abele has chafed under what he has called board interference in day-to-day county operations, including criticism of some of his key staffers. Abele has also objected to changes the board made to his budget.

From Dan Bice:

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele says his push to cut the pay for County Board members is not personal.

But Abele didn’t pass up an opportunity on Monday to take a shot at Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic.

“Last April, more than 80% of voters in 12 Milwaukee County municipalities called for significant change of the County Board,” Abele said. “It’s disappointing that instead of taking action, the Chairwoman and some Supervisors continue to fight against real reform and punish those who want to move in that direction.”

And from January 2013, Exec. Abele:

Abele said it was great some supervisors realized “the train has left the station, this (reform) is going to happen, that it’s no longer a question anymore.” He cautioned supervisors that voters expect major change, as evidenced by last spring’s advisory votes in favor of a smaller and part-time board.

Anything that falls far short of the parameters of Sanfelippo’s draft bill probably won’t be viewed as sufficient, Abele said.

“The board can contribute whatever ideas it likes – the bill’s going to happen,” he said.

The public is tired of “half-measures,” such as the board’s own redistricting last year, which reduced the number of supervisors by one, to 18, Abele said.

And Exec Abele’s early response to Rep Sanfelippo’s proposal: “The board has gradually usurped more and more turf and staff over the past several decades, despite a paucity of real duties sanctioned by state law.”

Someone got his toes stepped on and he doesn’t enjoy it. But this is real world politics and real world government and County Executive Abele has shown time and time again that he doesn’t play well with others…that he doesn’t realize this isn’t his personal ivory tower nor the enclave of the wealthy and powerful…it started out being about power, but Exec Abele has made it personal. And don’t get him started on the Brian Taffora thing!

My PoleetaQuack rating: It’s not personal is a liar liar pants on fire!

Whither MKE Cnty: Just Keeping Up to Date:

I’ll probably have some more on these things a bit later but just to keep you up to date:

Freshman County Supervisor Deanne Alexander would like to introduce a bill to have the state audit the workings of the Milwaukee County Board and County Executives office to look for inefficiencies and redundancies…this would be the same state that lost track of like $90 million in business loans? Yeah, that’ll work!

County Supervisors Steve Taylor and Mark Borkowski propose keeping a full time board but reducing the head count by 5 from the current 18 to 13 and reducing costs related to operation of the county board by 40%. County Executive Chris Abele responds: Na Na Na Na Na!

By the way, as far as I can tell, no one from the county has actually talked to a constituent besides Supervisor Alexander.

As I said on Facebook recently, Let the Wild Rumpus Begin!

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