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The County Board Reacts To Walker-Caused Debacle

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on February 6, 2009

As one would imagine, the reactions have been flying regarding Walker’s most recent case of paw-in-mouth disease. First, he willfully fails to fully staff the call center, effectively sabotaging it and causing the county to be subject to fines and a class action lawsuit. Then he opens his big yap and dares, double dares and double dog dares the State to take over. So they did.

Last night, I shared Supervisor Weishan’s statement on the matter. In a conversation with me, he stated that he believed that the State takeover of the Income Maintenance programs was about 20% political, but 80% financial, citing the class action lawsuit. Weishan also shared with me that he was disappointed int he State’s reaction to the situation. He said he would have preferred having chance to show the State that the county could have pulled it together.

Weishan added that while he was disappointed with the state, he was even more disappointed with Walker. He pointed out how Walker was stagnating the local economy with his short-sighted policies. Weishan also stated that it was frustrating because he saw Walker as being an “obstructionist” to any new idea that could help Milwaukee County grow.

Supervisor Theodore Lipscomb also issued a statement regarding his disappointment and frustration at the take over.

The real smackdown comes from Board Chairman Lee Holloway (emphasis mine):

“Milwaukee County’s foundation is built upon providing economic support services. We cannot take that local option away from County residents. The knee-jerk reaction by some, including the County Executive, is to dismantle County government programs. Our constituents deserve better; they deserve the right of local representation. They depend on Milwaukee County to be the provider of last resort. It’s time for the County Executive to listen to the County Board’s call to re-energize our commitment to managing public assistance programs. We need to prove to the Legislature that Milwaukee County can effectively provide these resources to the community. I understand how crucial it is that the people of Milwaukee County receive the benefits for which they are eligible during this economic downturn.

“At the same time, this problem must be approached with temperance, as the decisions made on behalf of constituents should not be driven by the political ambitions of a temporary County Executive. The plan presented by the State does not demonstrate or guarantee that citizens in need would be better served. The State’s takeover of the Milwaukee County Child Welfare program does not inspire confidence. Clearly, the State is singling out management as the problem. Locally, the County Executive and the County Board could consider instituting a different management model if the State requests it.

“…by the political ambitions of a temporary County Executive.” I love that line! Throw in a “weasel” or three, and it could have been me writing it.


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