‘Politics as usual’ prevents Milwaukee from moving forward
Statement by Ald. Stamper November 27, 2017
On November 10th the Common Council voted to pass a budget that went a long way in improving many areas of the city’s departments and services. In it we improved public safety, increased library staff, passed the clean-up initiative in honor of Greg “Ziggy” Zyszkiewicz, and we eliminated areas of waste that have been overlooked for years. During this budget process, my colleagues and I debated and collaborated to bring forth a budget that accomplished all of the goals we set out to accomplish, and a spirit of cooperation was formed. Did we all get what we wanted? Of course not. We all saw the big picture and worked together with one goal in mind-the betterment of our city for all of its citizens. We showed what cooperation, dialogue, and a true willingness to put those we represent first can accomplish. My colleagues and all the staff worked diligently to find creative ways to put forth a budget that works for the entire city, they deserve a thank you, and we publically thank them.
As it stands, our job is not done, and there are no victories towards abolishing the status quo yet. We are still battling an outdated mindset of ‘politics as usual.’ This type of politics takes workers and the families who depend on them, moves them across a board like pawns in a chess game, and it ultimately ends in a stalemate. For the budget to move forward as it was presented, it was suggested that a promised and long overdue 2% raise for general employees needs to be scaled back. The budget we presented does not support that notion. For example, the disparity study that was approved with a 12-3 vote is funded by Personal Cost Adjustments (PCA). These are unfilled city positions which are still budgeted for, and in some cases, these positions haven’t been filled in quite some time. From the information we’ve been given, we’ve been told there are 265 of these vacancies. We adopted a budget that directed that money to be used for a disparity study that will move this city forward. Let’s be clear, the decision to not use this method of payment and to instead lob a decrease of salaries for those who work so hard for our city services is ‘politics as usual.’ It’s this type of politics that leaves us stuck in the past and languishing at the bottom of so many statistical trackers of prosperity. To counter that, we have a resolution waiting that will state this 2% raise cannot be touched. In conclusion, pitting the funding of a disparity study against a promised pay increase for our hard working city employees is nothing short of—‘politics as usual.’
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