Realizing that he put his pampered feet into it again, Abele then came up with a "compromise." Instead of robbing the retirees, he would just steal their pensions. Some compromise.
Seeing that Abele was dead set on his immoral agenda, AFSCME then went to the Milwaukee County Board to argue their case. AFSCME urged the board to adapt the common sense proposal made by the pension board that would resolve the issue regarding the pensions without causing harm to the retirees and without jeopardizing taxpayers by exposing them to expensive lawsuits.
Fortunately, the county board saw through Abele's scheme and chose the moral and intelligent path, and on Thursday, they approved the pension board's proposal with a veto-proof 14-2 majority.
AFSCME issued the following statement regarding this welcome action:
AFSCME Activism Stops Abele's Attack on RetireesUnfortunately, Abele's avarice has blinded him from common sense and common decency. He said that he will veto this resolution for a very ironic reason:
Milwaukee County Board members today delivered a stinging rebuke to County Executive Chris Abele, blocking his plan to take away retirement benefits from county retirees who participated in a pension program once promoted by the county.
Supervisors voted 14-2 for an alternative backed by the county’s Pension Board and AFSCME that preserved the benefits relied on by about 200 long-retired former county employees.
In April, Abele authorized sending a shocking letter to the retirees threatening to go after past, present and future benefits because the county had miscalculated payments for participants of a “buy back” program the county had once promoted.
Even though participants had done nothing wrong – in fact they had followed the county’s advice long ago -- Abele wanted to rewrite history. For some retirees, it could have meant losing their homes. Others could be forced back to work after years away from the workforce.
Abele bragged in April about how “aggressively” he would go after these retirees. After sending the terrifying letter, the county then refused to provide any additional information, leaving the threatened retirees hanging for months with no answers.
AFSCME reacted forcefully, organizing retirees and their supporters to protest Abele’s attack on financial security of people living on modest fixed incomes.
“This is a vivid illustration of a politician tragically out of touch with the day-to-day struggles of people who don’t fit into his tax bracket. The only time he acts with real vigor is to try to take something away from people who already have very little,” said AFSCME Council 48 Executive Director Boyd McCamish said at the time.
Working with the retirees and allies, AFSCME began exploring legal action while pushing for a simpler, more humane solution. Fortunately, County Supervisors listened – despite concerted efforts by Abele and his cheerleaders to misrepresent the facts and paint the retirees in the worst possible light.
“We deeply appreciate the courage shown by the County Board majority, which refused to be bullied into ruining people’s lives by a County Executive eager to score political points no matter who gets hurt,” McCamish said.
That plan went nowhere, prompting Abele to say that the board's decision would "cost taxpayers at least $10 million, money we won't be able to use for important services like senior meal programs, or new bus routes or improving our parks."So Abele's plan was to rob Grandma to feed Grandpa?
At least Abele is starting to pretend to worry about providing services. He hasn't even been considerate enough to pretend to do this much when he gutted the mental health program, privatized courthouse security or sold county assets for pennies to the dollars so that his country club chums could get even more filthy rich.
If you listen careful, you can hear Abele stomping his silk-stocking feet in his ivory tower in yet another temper tantrum....