County committee refuses to confirm Abele appointee after Supervisor Haas changes vote

Earlier today the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors Finance and Audit Committee voted 4-3 to 4-3 to reject confirming Patrick Farley for a fresh four-year appointment as director of the county’s Department of Administrative Services. Farley had been appointed to that position shortly after Chris Abele won a special election to replace Scott Walker as Milwaukee County Executive.

What’s odd about the finance committee’s vote against confirming Farley as director of the Milwuakee County DoA is that the vote to reject Farley’s appointment came after the same committee had previously voted to confirm Farley. Approximately a half hour after the committee originally voted to confirm Farley, County Supervisor Jason Haas unexpectedly called for a reconsideration of that vote and switched sides on a second vote that resulted in the Farley rejection.

Shortly after Supervisor Haas unexpectedly changed his previous vote, County Executive Abele released a statement on his Facebook page expressing his astonishment and disappointment at the sudden development.

“I’m astonished and disappointed that four supervisors would vote against Pat Farley without giving an explanation. Not only was he crucial in helping me craft a budget that erased a $55 million deficit without raising taxes or using furlough days, but Pat is shining example of what we want from public servants.

Pat knew doing the right thing might not easy or popular, but when the District Attorney asked for help he stepped up to the plate. Every single one of us who holds the privilege of elected office in Milwaukee County has taken an oath to uphold the law to the best of our ability. Pat’s efforts to aid the DA were not about my office or the supervisors; they were about integrity and taking that oath seriously. I am grateful to have such an intelligent, hard-working, and ethical person working alongside me at the County.

The committee’s vote today sends a terrible message to taxpayers and Milwaukee County employees about the Board’s transparency and their commitment to clean and open government.”

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Supervisor Haas declined to comment on his reasons for calling for a second vote, and Supervisor Haas also declined to give a reason for his changed vote after I emailed him.

Supervisor Haas’ changed vote today isn’t the first time he’s changed a vote – back in April 2011 Haas flip-flopped on a vote regarding decorative panels at the O’Donnell parking garage.

While there’s no way of knowing with any certainty why Supervisor Haas decided to change his vote and cast the deciding vote against confirming Patrick Farley’s appointment, there’s something that just doesn’t smell right about his latest flip-flop.


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