As I posted on Monday, the first listening session about county government reform (part of the county board’s OUR Milwaukee County initiative) was held last night at the Wilson Park Senior Center. The evening’s host was 14th District County Supervisor Jason Haas. I will have a few more things to post but here are a few quick hits from my observations:
I did a rough head count and believe there were about 120 – 125 people in attendance. This was 4 to 5 times the number of people that I had anticipated…and it was very refreshing to see how many people cared about their county government.
There were a surprising number of elected officials on hand…County Board Chair Marina Dimitrijevic introduced Supervisor Haas and met with constituents who lingered in the hall after the session. Other County Supervisors on hand included David Bowen (10th District), Steve Taylor (9th District) and John Weishan Jr (16th District). Plus one of the main reasons we were all there, State Representative (and former County Supervisor) Joe Sanfelippo.
Also from the county, Hector Colon (Health & Human Services Administration) and Kimberly Walker (Milwaukee County Corporation Counsel Staff). And State Senator Chris Larson (former County Supervisor from the 14th) had a representative from his office on hand.
I just took a quick poll of those who spoke at the session…nothing scientific and not quite complete as I was trying to keep up with my note taking…but here is the rough count: In support of a full time board (although not necessary at its current size): 18. In favor of a part time board: 3. And those whose choice was unknown because they addressed other subjects (transit, mental health, the sheriff) without mentioning board size or full/part time: 4. Plus one person who stated he was undecided!
I have a number of notable paraphrases (not quotes since I can’t take notes that well) that I will go through and publish over the next day or so. But I’d like to close this post with one very notable statement that I believe many people in MKE county share:
COUNTY GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO STOP INFIGHTING!
PS: After all of the noise that the Journal Company outlets have been making about Rep. Sanfelippo’s proposed legislation…why weren’t they represented last night…and as of this writing I have found no mention on jsonline (of course their search function pretty much sucks)!