Monday, April 22, 2013

Milwaukee County Board Calls Team Abele's Bluff

Soon after Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and his plutocrat pals at GMC hired State Representative Joe Sanfelippo to present their power grab bill, it was obvious that there were problems. The introduction of the bill kept getting delayed.  It took so long that they weren't able to get the red herring referendum on the spring's ballot as they were hoping.

Sanfelippo said that this was because he wanted to give the Board time to do their own reform.

So they did.

Then Sanfelippo and the other minions of GMC said that it was too little too late and that the Board didn't really mean it.

But the committee just passed it on Monday afternoon:
Milwaukee County Board Intergovernmental Relations Committee

Overwhelmingly Supports Bold Local Reform Plan

(MILWAUKEE)—The Milwaukee County Board’s Committee on Intergovernmental Relations passed a resolution to reform the Board locally on Monday.  The resolution contains provisions to cut the board’s salary by 20 percent and cut by 50 percent the board’s budget and staff.  It also includes in-depth language to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the legislative and executive branches, while ensuring that all branches receive access to the same training on county operations and governing.   In addition, there is a commitment to seek further efficiencies.

“This resolution is the culmination of hours of testimony at public hearings and hundreds of conversations with the public and stakeholders on local reform,” said Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic. “This is the first comprehensive reform plan presented by the board, and I am proud to be a part of positive local change.  Those who suggested we would never change were just not listening. Today, those folks should admit they were wrong.”

Other provisions of the resolution include: that any allowable savings from the Board cuts be directed to county services; streamlining of procedures such as prohibiting dual referrals and increasing the threshold for professional service contracts; and  a commitment to implement any additional budget and staff cuts recommended by an efficiency audit.

“Any time real change occurs, no one gets everything they want,” Committee Chairman Theodore Lipscomb, Sr. said. “But real change can only occur successfully if it is embraced locally.  What we are moving forward today is historic for this county board.”

The resolution passed committee on 6-1 vote and will now go to the full board on Thursday, April 25.

Now Abele and GMC have to decide whether they want to take the reform, which they claim they wanted or show their true colors again and lay bare the fact that their ploy was nothing more than a power grab.

And they didn't take long to decide:

[Mike Ellis said] “…we’re getting the public hearing on the same bill, but the Senate version, we’re going to get that out of the way this week, it’ll then come back to the Senate, we’re not in session until the first part of May, and then we will schedule it. I would hope that we schedule it right away and take it up on the floor.” 
Ellis says Republicans have the votes to pass the bill in the Senate, and Republicans have already passed it once in the Assembly.
Yup, pure power grab it is.

And for the record, again, I am against both the Board's reform and GMC's power grab.

There is only one thing needed to fix Milwaukee County government - cut out the rot.

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