I know I’m a little slow on the uptake with this, but the Milwaukee County Board reform plan proposed by County Board Chair Marina Dimitrijevic is worth mentioning.
According to reports, Dimitrijevic offered her plan as an alternative to legislation by state Republican State Rep. Joe Sanfelippo and Republican State Sen. Alberta Darling that would cut the board’s budget by two-thirds and limit the board’s authority on contracts, land sales and labor negotiations. The Sanfelippo/Darling plan would also order a binding referendum in April 2014 on whether County Supervisor salaries should be cut by about 50% to $24,000.
Dimitrijevic’s plan includes cutting the board’s budget by $2.7 million, cutting supervisor pay by 20% and trimming half the board’s 38 staff positions, and both plans would cut supervisors’ terms to two years instead of four.
As reported by Urban Milwaukee, other reforms contained in Dimitrijevic’s plan include:
- Definition and clarification of roles and responsibilities of both the Board and the County Executive, which agree the Board is a policy-making body and the County Executive is manager of day-to-day operations, with mandatory training for supervisors.
- Creation of an independent Office of Intergovernmental Relations, which will report to both the County Executive and the County Board Chair. Changes to contracting policy.
- Requirement of an efficiency audit for all levels of County government and use of a mediator to enforce those efficiencies. Recommendations for additional efficiency measures in governance and operations. Follow-through on the efficiency audit for additional governance measures and County-wide operational efficiency measures.
- Transfer of the Community Development Business Partners department from the Board to the independent office of the County Comptroller.
- There would be no future pension benefit provided to Supervisors unless they choose to pay the full-cost beginning with the 2016 term
At the risk of losing even more standing among many of my peers in the blogosphere here in Southeastern Wisconsin, I’m going to express a fair dose of skepticism about the reform plan proposed by Marina Dimitrijevic. On its face, Dimitrijevic’s reform plan seems like a reasonable way to move forward with reforms, but the timing of its release is what bothers me. After all, Marina Dimitrijevic was first elected to the County Board more than a decade ago, and the closest she’s ever come to supporting “reform” of the County Board was when she pushed to eliminate the seat held by former Supervisor Joe Rice during redistricting, and as Dimitrijevic herself stated publicly, she only wanted to get rid of Rice’s seat because it would remove a conservative from the County Board.
Dan Cody has some thoughts of his own on the reform plan put forward by Marina Dimitrijevic.