Supervisor Clancy Demands Accountability, Decries Sheriff’s Office Power Grab
MILWAUKEE – On Thursday the County Board’s Finance Committee for the second month in a row voted to reject (4-3) the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) plan on overtime and overbudget accountability.
“The Sheriff’s report, for the second time in as many months, simply does not offer any specific plan of action,” said Supervisor Clancy. “Their plan in last month’s report was to ask for ARPA funds which should be going towards human needs in a time of crisis. Because the Board explicitly barred that, this month’s plan is to give themselves raises. The Sheriff’s plan to not overspend is to ask for more money. As much as I do not want to consider and debate a third report, I am grateful to my colleagues Supervisors Taylor, Czarnezki, and Sumner, who stood with me to again reject this report and demand accountability from the Sheriff’s Office.”
Under a new ordinance authored by Supervisors Clancy and Rolland, when a department is on track to exceed its overtime budget by more than $1 million, or its overall budget by more than $100,000, the department must submit a report detailing reasons for the anticipated deficit and an action plan or alternatives to offset the deficit. The department must return to the Finance Committee three months later to report on its progress. The MCSO report notes that 2021 overtime will likely reach $7.8 million, doubling its overtime budget of $3.9 million.
MCSO has exceeded its allotted overtime every year on recent record. In 2020, the top paid Deputy Sheriff received compensation (including overtime and benefits) of more than $200,000, more than the combined salary of the entire seven-person Finance Committee. Should the contract with the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs’ Association be approved, retroactive pay will further increase that compensation.
“During a time of nationwide reckoning in which people are asking that funds be redirected away from law enforcement and upstream to the services which keep our community healthy and safe, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office is doing exactly the opposite, actively working to create new positions, new and redundant units, and expanding both their footprint and the funds needed to sustain it. Every dollar they use to harass and brutalize peaceful protesters, or to establish a redundant second drone unit is a dollar that could and should have gone to support human needs.”
The Finance Committee on Thursday also recommended a resolution which would allow MCSO to create an additional three Deputy positions and take $300,000 from mental health funds to pay for them. An amendment offered by Supervisor Clancy would have instead abolished three positions but was defeated 2-5 (Taylor and Clancy in favor).
“The CART program is a significant improvement over a traditional law enforcement response,” noted Supervisor Clancy. “But these teams are explicitly designed to replace those traditional responses. Using mental health funds to create additional Deputy positions – over and above the mental health funds which are already used to fund those half of the teams – is moving in the wrong direction.”
All 12 public comments, including oral testimony in which speakers waited seven hours to testify, were in favor of accountability or opposed using mental health dollars to fund law enforcement.
The resolution will be in front of the full Board of Supervisors on Thursday, June 24.