Thursday, June 20, 2013

Milwaukee County Board Gets Late Start To Spring (Court)House Cleaning

At the beginning of May, Cory Liebmann, writing at Eye On Wisconsin, found a very troubling email from Milwaukee County Corp Counsel head Kimberly Walker.  In said email, she advocated for Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele and his crew of reprobates to send all their emails through her in order to thwart the County Board as well as any Open Records Requests.

I also wrote about this, including about the ramifications of the top lawyer for the county soliciting faulty advice on how to circumvent the law:
I would add that there is another problem with this. Walker's role is not that of a company lawyer answerable to only the CEO, as it was in her old job. Walker answers to both the county executive and the County Board.

To summarize, Ms. Walker overstepped her authority by advising Abele how to circumvent not only the Board - which is inappropriate - but also any future open records requests - which is unethical and illegal.

The fact that she wasn't actually aware of the laws and was giving not only illegal, but faulty, advise only further proves that she is not qualified for that job.

There are a couple of things that need to happen, sooner rather than later.

One, Walker needs to resign from her position. And if she won't, Abele needs to fire her. He can always sweep her under the rug like he did with Farley when things got too hot after Farley's botched attempt of framing former Supervisor Johnny Thomas.

Walker cannot effectively remain in her position given that she was providing faulty information, advising Abele to circumvent open record laws using that faulty information and was working against the Board, to whom she also reports.

Secondly, Abele needs to explain why he left her in that position for more than a year after she sent that email. It is pretty obvious that Abele thinks he is above the law, but he still needs to be held accountable, especially since he is pushing so very hard to have all the power consolidated in his hands.

As more of these stories come out, it makes one wonder what else is he trying to hide from the public he is supposed to represent.

The only thing that it doesn't make one wonder about is why people are referring to Abele as Little Walker.
Since Emperor Abele believes himself to be above the law, it is unfortunate, but not surprising, that he took no action regarding the ethical concerns surrounding Ms. Walker.

That left the spring courthouse cleaning up to the County Board, which will be addressing this issue on Thursday.

Needless to say, this set off a new round of tantrums by Emperor Abele and his court jester, Brendan Conway:
In a surprise move, Corporation Counsel Kimberly Walker has been notified that at least 12 of the 18 County Board members are planning to vote to fire her at Thursday's board meeting.

Abele appointed Walker to the $134,000-per-year job two years ago, but the board can remove her over Abele's objection if two-thirds of the members back the effort.

"The county executive is beyond surprised -- he's outraged," said Abele spokesman Brendan Conway. "There is nothing that they could find factually that she's done wrong."

Conway accused the board of carrying out a "political vendetta" against Abele for supporting Act 14, a newly passed law that curbs the board's staff and resources while beefing up the county exec's power. It would cut supervisors' pay by more than 50% to about $24,000 a year if approved in a binding referendum in 2014.

One County Board leader dismissed any suggestion that supervisors are trying to punish Abele.

"That's crazy," responded Supervisor Theo Lipscomb, chairman of the Judiciary, Safety and General Services Committee. "I'm not that petty. Maybe they are."
The melodramatics continued when Abele's bought and paid for supervisor, Deanna Alexander, issued a hysterical and histrionic press release :
Members of the Milwaukee County Board have been consipiring [sic] for weeks to focibily [sic] dismiss County Corporation Counsel, Kimberly Walker.

County Supervisor Deanna Alexander has watched fellow board members hold ‘secret’ meetings and circulate signature pages calling for Walker’s firing. Alexander questions how legitimate the dismissal
proposal could possibly be. Knowing that Alexander would not support an irrational ousting of a County employee, the board’s number one rule of executing this plan was “Don’t let Alexander find out!”
Supervisor Alexander issued the following statement:

“Kimberly Walker is an excellent attorney and a model public servant. She is responsible for providing legal advice in the best interest of the county as a whole, regardless of the personal interests of elected officials. As a result of offering legal advice that the board did not want to hear, she has been placed on the notorious ‘County Board hit list.’

It is ridiculous that they are going through with this—they are making fools of themselves! It is absolutely not in the County’s best interest for the board to dismiss her. It’s as if they don’t like the fair actions of a good referee, so they have decided to gang up, kick the ref in the knees, and call for a replacement that will make calls in their favor. Let’s all do the math here: the only reason that our attorney is in hot water is because she crossed paths with some politicians looking to settle a score. Shame on them! Any board member supporting this removal does not want the best for the County – they want what is best for themselves.”
My, oh my, but there is a whole truckload of unsupported and unsubstantiated accusations in that screed, which makes me wonder if this isn't just another example of Conway literally putting the words into Alexander's mouth.

Walker does herself no favors when she accuses Supervisor Lipscomb of racism and sexism, even though he is married to an African American woman.  But that shows just how low the Emperor's minions will go.

Another bit of courthouse cleaning will come with the rejection of Kathy Eilers, Abele's appointment to be the fifth administer of the Behavioral Health Division in the past six years.  Abele wanted Eilers in the seat because he wants to close down the mental health complex (not just parts of it, but the whole damn thing), and nobody else was willing to take on the task of abandoning our most vulnerable citizens.  In fact, that is exactly why Paula Lucey, the last director, had been forced out:
Abele tapped Eilers in April, after Paula Lucey left over a disagreement on how to best transition patients from the long-term units at the complex to private facilities. Eilers, 68, was given the interim position and a salary of of $137,500 a year.
Eilers had not once met with staff at BHD, although it was reported that she had called for an all staff meeting on Thursday.  There is no report if that meeting will now happen.

It should be noted that Abele is claiming that he did a nationwide search for a new director, but no one but Eilers was allegedly found.  Then again, who would want to move to a new city for just two or three years and working for such a sociopath as Abele.

But the main reasons for the rejection of Eilers is not that she is a hatchet woman, but that she had lied to the supervisors in claiming that the results of a federal audit were not available even though they were and for claiming that they had safe plans for moving out the most vulnerable citizens at BHD when they didn't.

The really ironic part of this whole mess is that Abele, who willingly and with deliberate premeditation created the hostile work environment which permeates the courthouse, is now whining about there being a hostile environment.

1 comment:

  1. The Board should also file an ethics complaint against Walker for her unethical actions regarding her client and her willful violations of the Law.