Supervisor Michael Mayo, Sr. Says Committee Action Shows Confusing Nature of New Law Limiting County Board’s Powers
Chairman of the Transportation, Public Works & Transit Committee Says Delay of Wauwatosa Water Utility Resolution Caused by Uncertainty About Board’s Role in the Wake of Enactment of Act 14
(MILWAUKEE) – Milwaukee County Board Supervisor Michael Mayo, Sr. said today that a delay in passage of a resolution allowing the County to enter into an agreement with the City of Wauwatosa over water utilities was an example of the confusion over the Board’s powers. The delay was caused by the Committee’s inability to amend the resolution.
“County Executive Chris Abele said that passage of AB 85 would lead to more efficient County government,” said Mayo, who is chairman of the committee. “But instead the legislation has slowed down the process and created confusion over the Board’s role. Nothing in the bill is clear over how to handle intergovernmental issues such as these.
“We are handcuffed. We can’t amend resolutions that should be amended, we can only vote straight up or down. Abele and Gov. Walker said this would streamline government, but this has created a bottleneck.”
AB 85, which was signed into law by the Governor last week and is now known as Act 14, limits the Board’s powers and centralizes power into the County Executive’s office. The committee considered a resolution to allow the Department of Administrative Services to enter into an agreement to transfer seven Milwaukee County utility customers to the City of Wauwatosa on Wednesday. The committee delayed the decision until a special meeting on June 12.
“The water utility arrangement looked good to me. I referred it and I scheduled it,” Mayo said. “Then the bill was signed.”
Mayo said the resolution’s delay was an example of the lack of clarity in the bill, and he predicted that more confusion would follow due to the bill’s vagueness on the Board’s powers.
“There are a lot of gray areas in this legislation,” Mayo said. “I hope that we can get legal advice that shows us black and white versus gray. This is not the last time we will need to slow legislation. We need clarity.
“The people of the 7th District and the people of Milwaukee County deserve all the information they can get, and that information should come in written form, not verbal.”
The Board previously authorized funding for legal counsel to interpret Act 14 and determine the Board’s powers under the new law.