When Scott Walker was Milwaukee County Executive, things were pretty screwed up, but Chris Abele makes that time look like the good old days.
The following are three examples of life in Chris Abele's Milwaukee County and just how dysfunctional things have gotten, ranging from the trivial to the alarming to the almost incomprehensible.
Abele, or as he prefers to be called, Dear Leader, appears to finally figuring out that not many people - especially county workers - like him very much.
In order to endear himself to the little people, he issued a decree declaring Friday to be Wisconsin Badgers Day and is "allowing" people to wear their Badger gear.
This must be one of his most pointless acts for a couple or reasons.
One, it's casual Friday. Workers could have worn their gear without a decree. Two, it would have been nice if he had made this gesture when the UW-Milwaukee Panthers - y'know, the local school - had been in the playoffs.
But that's small potatoes compared to the other examples.
On Thursday, I reported how Abele and friends had illegally sent political emails to county workers and elected officials at their government email addresses.
The same day, the same email system suddenly stopped working. Scrubbing servers, maybe?
Abele Sues To Violate Act 10
Before Act 10, Milwaukee County had three ways of dealing with grievances and disciplinary issues.
If the worker was represented by the union, they could grieve verbal or written reprimands or suspensions of 10 days or less before an arbitrator. If the discipline was more than 10 days or was termination, their grievance would be heard before the Personnel Review Board (PRB), a panel of five people appointed by the county executive. Non-represented workers had everything go before the PRB.
With the passage of Act 10, that all changed. The arbitration system was ended.
But Abele never put another system in its place to deal with these issues, as required by Act 10.
Without going into the details or the merits of the case, a union worker was given a three day suspension that they thought to be unfair. Without an arbitrator to grieve the matter to, a grievance was filed with the PRB.
Abele was outraged at this and sent his corp counsel to argue that the PRB could not hear the matter. The PRB found that under Act 10 and other state laws and county ordinances, the worker had the right to be heard and since Abele had not set up a system to do so, they were going to.
Angered that the PRB had found that workers still have rights and that the PRB - his own appointees - were going to enforce those rights, Abele went off the deep end.
Abele has had his corp counsel file a lawsuit against the PRB in order to stop them from following Act 10 and allowing a worker to grieve an unfair discipline.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Abele is having one of his appointees sue five other of his appointees to stop them from enforcing Act 10. And this will be both prosecuted and defended using tax payer dollars.
All because he doesn't want workers to have even the few rights still allowed to them under Act 10.
Now don't you feel better about the fact that Abele has unprecedented and unchecked power over the county?