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Holloway Starts By Doing Some (Court)House Cleaning

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on January 1, 2011

From Milwaukee County First:

On Tuesday, Lee Holloway was sworn in as the first African American County Executive of Milwaukee County.  And he didn’t waste any time in starting to make some changes around the courthouse.

Among his first acts as county executive was to terminate the employment of four of former executive Scott Walker’s aides de camp.  Those that were fired included Steven Kreklow, Tim Russell, Bob Nenno and Cheryl Berdan.

There were no reasons given for the firings, but one could easily speculate as to the rationale behind these moves.

Kreklow was Walker’s budget director.  He is the author of the 2010 budget and the 2011 budget, both of which are illegal and deficit-ridden.  Because of the way Kreklow structured these budgets, trying to balance its deficits by claiming yet to be negotiated concessions from the unions, has caused the County to be found to be bargaining in bad faith with the unions, thereby weakening the County’s strength in future negotiations.

Kreklow also has repeatedly lied to the Board.  As the Board started to work on correcting the Kreklow had authored, he repeatedly denied that there was a deficit in it, despite it being shown by county auditor Jerome Heer.  Later, Kreklow was also caught lying about the size of the deficit in the budget he said had no deficit, this time claiming it to be 30 times greater than what it really was.  Kreklow also didn’t do himself any favors when he became snarky and disrespectful towards the County Board.

Tim Russell is not a surprise either.  He is a well known Walker political operative who has gotten himself in a lot of trouble, being the subject of a John Doe probe for illegally politicking from his county office.  There are also questions about Russell’s past, namely if he lied on his resume about being fired from a state job for using a state credit card for personal use.

It has also been rumored the Bob Nenno is being investigated as part of this probe.

Besides cleaning the Courthouse of these people, Holloway also laid out a bold and ambitious agenda that he hopes to accomplish in his short time as county executive.  Among these goals are:

  • Push for a dedicated funding source for the transit system,
  • Cut costs at the mental health complex,
  • To vend county services to other municipalities as a revenue source, and
  • Settle the contract negotiations with the unions, which has lingered for two years without any progress.

Holloway has also called for a press conference at noon on Wednesday for a “major announcement.”

There have been many critics of Holloway’s that have harshly attacked Holloway for these bold actions.  While Holloway has not always done things in the most tactful way possible, and he is probably going to do things that people don’t necessarily like, it is refreshing to see someone show some sort of leadership and attempting to address the issues that have been festering for years while the former administration pursued other things.



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