Statement of Supervisor David Bowen Regarding the Retirements and Firings of County Executive’s Administration
Supervisor Questions Sudden Departures, Abele Administration’s High Turnover
(MILWAUKEE) – Supervisor David Bowen issued the following statement regarding the sudden retirement of Paula Lucey Administrator of the Behavioral Health Division, the departure of Jim Burton, Director of Facilities, and the pattern of high turnover in the County Executive’s administration:
“I and numerous others who are concerned about the future direction of mental health services in Milwaukee County question the sudden retirement of the Administrator of BHD, Paula Lucey. It was only about six months ago that Lucey was brought to the Health and Human Needs Committee for approval, with her confirmation passing the County Board shortly afterward. I look forward to hearing directly from the County Executive’s administration on how this resignation came about at the next Health and Human Needs Committee Meeting on April 17th.
“Unfortunately, this resignation highlights a bigger problem and pattern in the Abele administration. Why can’t the County Executive retain members of his Administration? Many experienced public servants including Sue Black, Frank Busalacchi, Lucey and just as of three days ago Jim Burton, Director of Facilities, are gone with little to no details as to why.
“Since Abele started partnering with outside wealthy corporate interests like the Greater Milwaukee Committee on an effort to tip the scales of power in his favor, he has been unable to retain the very people he hired to run his administration. Meanwhile, he is actively lobbying for passage of Assembly Bill 85. This bill will allow the state to overreach into Milwaukee County and cut jobs in a single department, the County Board.
Facilities and BHD were two key points of his State of the County address, yet he is running his own administration through interim positions and vacancies while attacking the Board.
“Abele should spend his time running his administration rather than trying to cut into the Board’s ability to govern effectively. The Board has dedicated staff members who work tirelessly for the 53,000 constituents in each supervisory district. We on the Board represent nearly one million people in the county as a whole. Staff helps us research, create legislation, pass an annual budget and oversee the County Executive administration. AB 85 has affected Board staff morale. It is my hope that the committed public servants working for the Board stay with us as long as possible to help the people of Milwaukee County get the level of service they deserve. I’ll never give up fighting for the Board to maintain its prominence as servants of the people, not special interest business groups. In the meantime, Abele should be worried about running his own administration, not the Board’s staff.
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