Whither MKE County: Sheldon Lubar Will Show You Whither You Mindless Plotters

Mr Sheldon Lubar, Milwaukee business icon and one of the Machiavellian triumvirate behind the gutting of Milwaukee County elective government apparently is in a snit about the County Board’s firing of County Corporation Counsel Kimberly Walker. Whether you support the boards action or not, they are within their legal right to remove Ms. Walker from office…and if the board lacks confidence in Ms. Walker’s abilities…well she has to go.

Apparently in high dudgeon, Mr. Lubar wrote to Supervisor Theo Lipscomb, “you and the rest of your mindless plotters of 13 supervisors should be ashamed of yourselves”. Well, like any fine area citizen, Mr. Lubar is certainly entitled to his opinion, but he continues:

Lubar said the firing was done to get back at County Executive Chris Abele, who had a key role in advocating for the new state law curbing the authority and resources of the County Board. Lubar also pressed for the change.

“Your conduct is unfortunately more evidence of the dysfunction of the County Board”

Lubar criticized Dimitrijevic as “a child… She has no maturity.” He compared her unfavorably to her predecessor as chairman, Lee Holloway.

Lubar’s letter said, “the solution must be further change” and pledged to work to downsize the board. He said he had no specific plans to seek further legislation to cut the size of the board.

So, for supposedly acting petty and smug by firing Ms. Walker, the board was getting back at Executive Abele. How totally dysfunctional…so his response it to get back at the board by threatening to continue to work to downsize them? Mr. Lubar, it’s time to stand down…you are petty and hypocritical and just a wee bit dysfunctional!

It’s A Done Deal: Scott Walker Signs Bill to Gut Milwaukee County Board

Governor Scott Walker found his way to Milwaukee today and signed Assembly Bill 85 to gut the power and authority of Milwaukee County’s Board of Directors:

Gov. Scott Walker said Friday Milwaukee County government should function more efficiently, under a County Board reform bill Walker signed into law.

“This allows us to empower the taxpayer,” Walker said at a bill-signing ceremony at Serb Hall on Milwaukee’s south side. “It saves money for the taxpayers…and will result in government that is more responsive and efficient.”

The measure cuts the power and resources of the County Board, while beefing up the authority of County Executive Chris Abele.

Supervisors would lose power on contracts, labor negotiations and land sales, under the measure. The County Board’s budget also drops by two-thirds, though some staff and other costs previously counted as part of the board’s current $6.6 million budget are excluded from a new funding cap for the board.

Supervisor terms will change from four years to two, starting with the 2016 elections, under the law.

And supervisor pay would drop by 50% to about $24,000 a year, if voters agree in a 2014 referendum. Only that provision is subject to voter approval.

Walker stressed the importance of the referendum as giving voters the power to decide whether to in effect reduce the job of Milwaukee County supervisor to part time.

“”This allows us to empower the taxpayer,” Walker said…” What, you just took away authority and power from my elected representative which in effect removes my personal direct access to that authority and you call that empowering? Really? I am not feeling it!

And here’s a good one:

The County Board has voted to hire an outside attorney to review the legislation for a possible court challenge.

Walker scoffed at the notion of a court challenge.

Scoffed you say? It’s not like any of his previous legislation hasn’t ended up in court…aina?

And I see a very prominent County Executive Chris Abele looking like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas…Democrat my foot!

Walker Signs AB85

Photograph by Michael Sears and appears on JSONLINE with the article linked here and above.

Whither Milwaukee County: Why Hasn’t Scott Walker Signed THE Bill?

I would have thought that Governor Walker signing Representative Joe Sanfelippo’s Assembly Bill 85 to neuter the Milwaukee County Board was a slam dunk. Or is the governor really too busy jet setting from GOP enclave to GOP enclave?

But really, I would have expected an nearly instantaneous signing with tons of fanfare and rousing high fives all round…

So is there still some back room last minute dealing going on? Or is the governor carefully studying the bill with pen in hand crafting a Frankenstein bill after his own image via line item veto?

Saturday Open Thread: AB 85 vs. OUR Milwaukee County

You’ve all had plenty of time to digest the media coverage and dozens of op ed pieces in favor of and against Representative Joe Sanfelippo’s Assembly Bill 85 to reform Milwaukee County Government…and by now you’ve had a chance to read about the County Board’s own plan to reduce costs and salaries and request to downsize the board itself…but you’ve all been amazing silent on the topic here on Blogging Blue…so now I am asking you to comment:

Senate Hearing On Bill 95 – the Bill to Reform Milwaukee County Government

Elections and Urban Affairs

The committee will hold a public hearing on the following items at the time specified below:
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
9:30 AM
411 South

Senate Bill 95
Relating to: changing the compensation structure by which a Milwaukee County supervisor may be paid, changing the term length of a Milwaukee County supervisor, affecting the right of an annuitant under the Milwaukee County Employee’s Retirement System to be rehired by Milwaukee County, limiting the authority of Milwaukee County to enter into certain intergovernmental agreements, removing and clarifying some authority of the Milwaukee County board, increasing and clarifying the authority of the Milwaukee County executive, deleting obsolete statutory references, and requiring a referendum.

By Senators Darling, L. Taylor, Vukmir, Lazich and Farrow; cosponsored by Representatives Sanfelippo, Kooyenga, Hutton, Craig, Kuglitsch, Knodl, Stone, J. Ott, Honadel, Pridemore, Weatherston, Stroebel, Brooks, LeMahieu, Bernier and Tittl.
Senator Mary Lazich


(MILWAUKEE) – The Milwaukee County Board’s budget will be cut by 50 percent under a bold new set of initiatives proposed before an “Our Milwaukee County” listening session Thursday night.

The major initiative includes but is not limited to government streamlining, mandatory training for County Supervisors to clarify roles and responsibilities in County governance.

“This comprehensive package is the kind of bold reform our constituents asked for during the ‘OUR Milwaukee County’ sessions and various town hall meetings across the County,” said Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic. “We’ve had listening sessions in more than half of the County, and Milwaukee County residents want to see reform done locally, not imposed on the County by the state Legislature. This is the one of the most significant and dramatic overhauls of Milwaukee County government in history, and this is what our constituents have demanded.

“We listened to everyone – county residents, state legislators and local officials – to create realistic Board reform. This package reflects that. It’s been said that we would never reform ourselves, that we would never cut our own salaries, and that we would never cut our budget. But this package demonstrates clearly that not only have we listened, we’ve acted with a commitment to true, realistic, locally generated reform.”

Dimitrijevic said that with seven new Board members “it is a new day for County government.”

“These reforms are proof that this is a new Board with a new outlook on reform,” she said. “We have a new chair, and seven of the 18 members of the Board are new. Everyone on the Board – new members and long-time Supervisors – is committed to locally generated change.”

Supervisors’ pay will be cut by 20 percent under the proposal, and the board budget would be cut $2.75 million, which could be used for transit, parks, mental health and other County services.

The reforms mean that beginning in 2016 supervisors pay would be reduced to about $40,000, and that the Chairperson’s salary would be less than that of the Waukesha County Board chairperson.

A majority of people who spoke at the “OUR Milwaukee County” sessions said they favored reform, but not reform imposed on the County Board by the state Legislature, she said. Assembly Bill 85 would reduce the Board’s budget to .4 percent of the County tax levy while cutting Board staff by about 70 percent. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, would strip the Board’s ability to govern effectively, Dimitrijevic said.

“The fact is, the County Board matters, and our constituents care deeply about it,” she said. “They want to be part of the reform process that is taking place on County governance.

“This reform package is real reform generated locally, and we believe our constituents will agree that this package is far preferable to one imposed by the state. There is more than one way to reform, and the most successful way is locally.”

Among other reforms announced were:
· 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
“Everything is on the table,” Dimitrijevic said. “We have said that this new board is committed to reform, and we have presented a bold new look for the County Board. We believe this is what the people of Milwaukee County want – change on a local, not state, level.

“This is the beginning of a new chapter in County governance. The people of Milwaukee County spoke, and we listened.”

OUR Milwaukee County: Special Announcement Before Next Listening Session!

MEDIA ADVISORY Important Announcement by Milwaukee County Supervisors, State Legislators, Community Leaders :

There will be an important announcement by County Supervisors, State Legislators and community leaders during
a news conference at the Washington Park Senior Center in Milwaukee at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The important announcement will be followed by an “OUR Milwaukee County” listening session with Supervisor
David Bowen and Supervisor Russell W. Stamper II at 6:30 p.m.

Who: County Board Supervisors, State Legislators and community leaders

What: Important announcement

Date: Thursday, April 18

Time: 6:00 P.M.

Location: The Washington Park Senior Center, 4420 W. Vliet Street

Whither MKE County: People Who Keep Bringing Up Stuff That Isn’t Part of the Bill

I have seen this idea mentioned several times by people who should know better. And here’s the latest example from the testimony from Tia Torhorst in her support of Representative Joe Sanfelippo’s Assemby Bill 85 (as reprised by Zach earlier this week):

I would sit in a County Board committee meeting with 4 or 5 department heads, their fiscal staff, the division head overseeing the project on the agenda and several other staff associated with the issue. These meetings would often take 5 or more hours. 25 staff people sitting in a room for 5 hours for a brief appearance on an entirely administrative item. Add in the time it takes to write and review the written reports and you can understand the frustration of employees who just want to do what they thought they were hired to do versus become the literal bureaucratic paper pusher.

First of all, let’s not confuse bad management with bad government. Yes it is dysfunctional to make department heads and other personnel sit through hours and hours of meetings when they play a small part in it. Their testimony or question/answer session should be conveniently scheduled and they should be dismissed when they are done. That is bad management…

Second, AB 85 doesn’t prevent that from occurring. The bill prevents county supervisors from approaching department heads directly or interfering with department operations…they need to work through the county executive’s office for that…the exception being when they are responding to a direct issue or concern from a constituent. The bill still allows the board to call department heads and county personnel to appear before the board or board committees…that hasn’t gone away and is a necessary part of their job…this is good government.

What Does $11.53 Per Hour Mean

Do you have friends or relations who work full time and earn $11.53 per hour? Do you know people who work really hard full time and make less than $11.53 per hour? Do you feel that’s a reasonable full time hourly rate? Is it livable rate?

Now, why am I picking on $11.53 per hour? Because it essentially comes out to $24,000 per year…at 40 hours a week per 52 weeks a year…$24,000. Does that number sound familiar? It’s the salary that the ‘landed gentry’ of Representative Joe Sanfelippo, Senator Alberta Darling, County Executive Chris Abele, etal are touting as a PART TIME SALARY for the Milwaukee County Board.

$24,000 is part time money…shouldn’t those making $11.53 or less be a little bit angry when they work full time for part time wages?

So once they are finished ‘reforming’ Milwaukee County, they are going back to the GMC brain trust and come up with a bill that will provide the rest of us a minimum wage that is a FULL TIME RATE! Right?

OUR Milwaukee County: Next Listening Session Hosted by Bowen And Stamper

Joint Listening Session on County Government to be Held at Washington Park Senior Center April 18

(MILWAUKEE) – Milwaukee County Supervisor David Bowen and Supervisor Russell W. Stamper II will hold a joint “OUR Milwaukee County” listening session at 6:30 April 18 at the Washington Park Senior Center, 4420 W. Vliet St.

“These listening sessions are designed to give people a voice on County reform and other issues,” Bowen said. “While the state is considering the imposition of Board reforms through Assembly Bill 85 and Senate Bill 95, without providing a public hearing on those bills locally for Milwaukee County taxpayers, we want to allow our constituents to make their voices heard.”

Supervisor Stamper said the “OUR Milwaukee County” sessions are designed to get local input on the reform issue, which he said should be a local, not a state, issue.

“The Legislature is considering two bills that would strip the board of its ability to govern effectively, but they’re doing it without local input,” Stamper said. “These listening sessions are a valuable means of allowing our constituents to speak out on this important issue.”