Political payback is a dish best served cold

Earlier today Bruce Murphy of the “Murphy’s Law” blog over at Urban Milwaukee wrote about the continuing controversy surrounding the delayed confirmation by the County Board of Supervisors of Patrick Farley to a new four-year term as director of the county’s Department of Administrative Services.

What’s most curious about Farley’s delayed appointment is that it came after County Supervisor Jason Haas, a close ally of County Board Chair Marina Dimitrijevic (pictured, left), abpruptly flip-flopped his vote in favor of confirming Farley and instead voted against confirming Farley. There’s been a lot of speculation as to why Sup. Haas flip-flopped his vote, with some saying he did so at the behest of Board Chair Dimitrijevic, but according to Bruce Murphy Haas emphatically denied that was the case, stating “That’s ridiculous.”

It’s widely thought Farley’s appointment has been delayed by the County Board as “punishment” for Farley’s role in a sting operation that resulted in felony felony criminal charges having been filed against former Supervisor Johnny Thomas, who had been an ally of Dimitrijevic’s, with Dimitrijevic having endorsed Thomas’ failed bid for City of Milwaukee Comptroller.

Dimitrijevic and her allies on the County Board have denied Farley’s delayed appointment is due to his role in the sting operation against Thomas, instead focusing on three areas in which they say Farley has been deficient during his tenure as director of Milwaukee County’s Department of Administrative Services.

First, she noted, Farley’s Department of Administrative Services hasn’t given updates on the Transportation Services budget. But Conway says this is the Department of Transportation’s responsibility.

Second, Dimitrijevic noted, the county board has been waiting for a facilities plan since early in 2011. But Conway says the board didn’t pass any money for such a plan until November, 2011, that the money wasn’t available until January, and Farley has worked as needed on the issue since then.

Third, she noted, Farley needed to provide a progress report on efforts to hire a Sustainability Director for the county. But Conway says the position was just posted in May and anyway, this is the responsibility of the county’s HR Department.

Personally, I’m not buying the argument that Patrick Farley’s delayed confirmation is anything other than a power play by a bloc of the County Board (led by Dimitrijevic) that serves to not only punish Patrick Farley but also to push back against County Executive Chris Abele.


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