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!

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

  • If it were a joint proposal from the Board and the County Executive, it might have a chance of stopping an imposed plan from the vengeance of Sanfellipo. I would like to see these two banches talking to each other and working on solutions for the county instead of feuding. It would be better for both of them. Sadly, neither side has shown much of an inclination to do that.

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    • Ed Heinzelman

      Marlene, I couldn’t agree with you more. I don’t understand why Exec Abele isn’t willing to talk with the board and continues to insist that any resolution will be imposed from Madison

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      • Ed, and why doesn’t Marina reach out to Abele?

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        • Ed Heinzelman

          I have offered twice now to host a beer and wine summit…we can sip and snack and appreciate my view of the lake while we work a few things out!!!

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          • What a great offer, Ed. Did they both turn you down? Or were you just talking to Marina?

            I worry about what Marina is offering in Madison to turn votes. Her future and her reputation are on the line and I hope she is getting good advice and heeding it. This has already damaged her (and Abele as well) and a bad deal will make it worse.

            I would think they have a common enemy in the wacko sheriff that should bring them together, but even there the Board undercut the deal Abele and Barrett had going. I am puzzled by this apparent determination to be in opposition instead of in cooperation.

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  • I don’t know about the Board being on the ‘sidelines’ Ed. They’ve been lobbying in Madison like crazy. Both individuals and their paid lobbyists. If we’d had this kind of pressure in 2010, we’d probably have a 1% sales tax for parks and transit right now.

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    • Stan

      The sales tax was killed because Democrats in the Assembly were deathly afraid of voting for an increase in taxes, not for lack of effort by the County to push for it.

      Plus, Abele is against a sales tax for parks and transit. The County Board is pushing for it. Maybe Abele should not be sending a mixed message to Madison.

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    • Ed Heinzelman

      Lobbying in Madison isn’t being out in front of this nor is it in view of their constituents.

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