Wednesday, September 23, 2009

MJS Editorial Board Contradicts Itself

Earlier this year, when Scott Walker tried to revive his desire to dismantle county government, the Editorial Board at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found the thought "intriguing":

The Lubar and Walker suggestions are intriguing. As Walker said in a news release Monday, much of the work of county government overlaps the work of local municipalities and state government. Some services, such as the courts, human services functions or policing the freeways, could be taken over by the state. Other services could be turned over to local governments. They or new regional boards could handle, say, transit and parks.

Walker is also right in pointing out that Milwaukee County is the only county in the state entirely made up of incorporated villages and cities. There are no townships or unincorporated areas where the county necessarily fills a governance gap.

They liked the idea of breaking up one unit of government and spreading it around among the state, the municipalities and other yet-to-be-created authorities.

This morning, they take the exact opposite position by agreeing with consolidating smaller parts into a larger one:

Contracting out for police services shouldn't be the only option, though. Other promising avenues could be partnering with other governments on purchasing or services, consolidating or sharing certain services or even merging communities, as has been suggested in the past for the city and village of Pewaukee and the town and city of Brookfield.

These are hard times, but they are also times of opportunity. It is just at such times that smart officials can come up with creative solutions that provide the right services at the right price.

Come on, people, it's one or the other. One simply cannot have it both ways.

For the record, if one had to choose, I still believe that consolidating the county and all of its municipality into one body is the smarter choice. It would help alleviate costs and promote more efficient use and provision of services. That said, I also still think that it is not very feasible to do at this time.


  1. It should be noted of course, that neither of the communities they were talking about in their editorial reside in Milwaukee County.

  2. Do the rules of economics change after leaving the county line?