County Board Restores $4 Million of County Executive’s Cuts to Public Safety
Board Overrides Veto of Funding for Public Safety
The Milwaukee County Board overrode the County Executive’s budget vetoes today by a 15-1-1 vote.
Supervisors restored $4 million in budget cuts to public safety with its override of County Executive Chris Abele’s veto of the funding. With this compromise the Board restored about half of the cuts recommended by the County Executive to the Sheriff’s department. The Board also restored language vetoed by the Executive memorializing the County’s $4 million share of the cost of the Bucks arena.
“With his vetoes, the County Executive attempted to hide from the public the $80 million commitment from Milwaukee County that he negotiated behind closed doors in Madison for a private sports arena,” said Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb, Sr.
The County Executive vetoed amendment language that makes it “clear that the residents of Milwaukee County are making significant contributions to the construction of the new Sports Arena and the future of the Milwaukee Bucks as an NBA franchise.” The Board restored this budget language.
“A reversal of this Executive veto will ensure transparency and that Milwaukee County residents can pick up a copy of the annual County budget and see how their tax dollars are being diverted to the Milwaukee Bucks sports arena over the next 20 years,” Lipscomb said.
Lipscomb added: “In contrast to his cuts to public safety for all, the County Executive maintains that he will expend $400,000 of personal funds next year on Hollywood-style private security for himself. It was clear from our public meetings that this year’s $4 million required County contribution to the arena had a ripple effect throughout the budget, and the Executive passed these cuts on to public safety.”
The Board also objected to the County Executive’s repeat use of the so-called “Vanna White” veto to change long-standing adopted policies, overriding his veto of the budget amendment for a fish passage along the Milwaukee River.
“The veto purports to change the policy but provides no funding for removal, which puts the County in violation of the DNR order and our promises to the court,” Lipscomb said.
Lipscomb added: “The people of Wisconsin have spoken against the broad scope of the ‘Vanna White’ veto, voting to curtail its use by the Governor. The County Executive’s use of the ‘Vanna White’ veto to create policies stands in stark contrast to the public process of the legislative branch. The Executive’s ‘Vanna White’ veto was privately decided without the benefit of a public hearing.”
Press Releases by Theodore Lipscomb
Ordinance Change Would Require Public Disclosure of Pension Errors
"Abele's statement that the administration of the pension plan needs new management is a stunning admission that he is not capable of doing his job as the ultimate manager of all county departments..."
Abele administration has kept hidden a 2014 Voluntary Correction Plan report on pension errors for nearly three years
A live video stream would offer greater transparency because it would capture verbatim the discussion of Pension Board members in real time.
Milwaukee County Board expected to vote Thursday on establishing policy.
Milwaukee County paid $11 million in lump sum pension payments in November to retirees and their beneficiaries to correct for underpayments.