The “reform” of Milwaukee County Government: Massive power transfer to county executive

We have received the text and attachments of the Milwaukee County government “reform” bill that is now circulating in the state legislature. Please read through these documents carefully.  The bill would have a binding referendum in April 2014. While most people would be happy to cut elected official’s pay and benefits, there are a lot of things that you would not vote on, but would take effect with bill’s signing.

What I would like to point out to you is the total transfer of power that this bill would perform. The County Board would be strippe of virtually all powers to interact with county departments, be they Transit, Parks, the Airport, Highways, Dept. of Aging, Human Resources, etc. Every request for contact would have to be approved through the county executive’s office. Every single one. So if you wanted a change to Humboldt Park, while right now you would call my office, under this, I’d have to grovel before Abele. If you have a problem with a bus stop, I couldn’t touch it. I’d have to grovel before Abele. You would lose your voice in the county government. It would all be run by the unaccountable executive.This is akin to the president of the United States getting a bill that would remove Congress’s oversight and checking of executive power. The president would have unchecked power to control the government. Think back to grade school, when we learned about the three branches of government, each helping check the other’s grasp on power. This would tip the County government way, way, way to the executive’s favor. Your would lose your way to be heard on these matters that directly affect you.

Collective bargaining is another thing that would be granted exclusively to the executive under this bill. While Act 10 has stripped most public employees of the right to collective bargaining, fire dept. and sheriff’s deputies still have bargaining rights. Currently, it’s done through the nine-member Finance Committee. Under this, it would all be at the behest of the county executive. If Act 10 was overturned, this would still be in effect, so all 4,000-some employees would be under his thumb.
You could lose your voice in county government through this bill. There would be no accountability for the executive, save for at election each four years. This is a transfer of power away from a body of 18 supervisors onto one executive. It’s a threat to the democratic principles that made this state great so long ago, but have since been thrown to the wolves.I ran for office to do something for the people who elected me. This bill would take that power away.

Jason Haas

Milwaukee County Supervisor, District 14
(Proudly representing the Airport, Bay View, Copernicus, Holler, Humboldt, KK River Parkway, Morgan, Saveland, Tippecanoe, and Wilson Park neighborhoods.)

Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.

2 thoughts on “The “reform” of Milwaukee County Government: Massive power transfer to county executive”

  1. From 2/15/13 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

    dukefame – Feb 15 at 2:59 PM – Report Abuse
    While I think there is always room for some trimming, I have had two completely opposite experiences with my alderman and my county rep.

    I have communicated twice to my county rep, Jason Haas, over the last 9 months. I asked questions, expressed concerns and never heard back from him. I have communicated three times with my alderman, Tony Zielinski, over the last 12 months. Each time I received a reply via email within 12 hours. I also received followup communication from my alderman to ensure that my concerns were addressed.

    And most people never even try to contact their County Rep with concerns. It seems that Jason Haas could represent a larger number of people and his response to citizen concerns would have the same turn around time.

    Why do we need as many reps as we currently have?

    1. I was unaware that I had a constituent whose IP address exactly corresponds to the lobbying group Mueller Communications. or more specifically to the MX mail server.

      In the event that what you allege is true, please immeditely call my office at 278-4252, and leave a message for me. My aide will ensure that I promptly get that and call you back.

      I’ve posted this at 2:31 PM on Monday 2/18. Please call soon.

      UPDATE: I’ve heard from someone at Mueller, and they thoroughly denied having posted the comment. Also, I don’t think they would be sloppy enough to copy and paste it from JS Online.

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