Earlier today Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ‘watchdog columnist’ Daniel Bice reported that the Milwaukee County Board is prepared to remove County Executive Chris Abele’s appointed County Corporation Counsel Kimberly Walker.
There are all kinds of accusations flying back and forth…Abele’s camp saying it’s retribution by the board for the executive’s support of Act 14 – the state law that adjusts the balance of power in Milwaukee county government. The board’s denial that they are that petty.
Ms. Walker’s suggestion that it may have to do with the board’s impression that she was more aligned with the county executive’s office than with the county board…when the corporation counsel has to work for both branches of county government…is probably closest to the truth. Although she denies the truth of that statement. By her own report she stated that she informed by Supervisor Theo Lipscomb that there were enough votes to remove her from office and he was offering her the chance to resign. Instead she went public
And in going public Ms. Walker goes totally over the top:
But she wondered aloud whether her sex and race were factors in the decision. She said she is the first woman and the first African-American to head the Milwaukee County corporation counsel’s office and likely to be first one to get a pink slip.
Over the years, she said, county lawyers have no doubt butted heads with supervisors without losing their jobs. She said people should reach their own conclusions as to why it is happening now.
“It’s ironic to me that . . . the one time that you have a minority in this role that you have a movement to remove me,” Walker said. “So, yes, I would say, yeah, partly that race probably does play a part in this.”
Normally I feel an elected executive should have the appointees in government that he or she selects. Whether that is the Presidents Cabinet or a County Executive’s Department Heads…should make no difference…unless a candidate is grossly unqualified or a felon, they should be approved and allowed to serve and let the executive deal with any future issues.
And for that reason I think the board should have confirmed Kathie Eilers for the County Mental Health Complex.
But here it looks like the board has lost confidence in Ms Walker’s ability to do her job and run her department. And since she has to represent the board as well as the county executive, it may be time for her to go. And her comments about this being racially motivated or sexism? Makes me wonder if maybe she really isn’t qualified to be Corporate Counsel.