Referendum questions show support for County Board changes

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MILWAUKEE -- Over the past decade, the size of the Milwaukee County Board has been reduced from 25 to 19 supervisors, and very soon, will be reduced again to 18 supervisors. Some supervisors say further reduction is necessary to help improve the county's fiscal situation.The proposed cuts to the County Board could include how much the supervisors are paid, and not all board members are in support.

Wednesday afternoon, April 4th, Milwaukee County Board Supervisor Joe Sanfelippo said the results of Tuesday's nonbinding advisory referendum questions may force some changes to the Milwaukee County Board. "This board has, for six years, steadfastly refused to even consider these options," Sanfelippo said.

In 12 Milwaukee County municipalities, voters said they are very much in favor of reducing the number of supervisors, from the current 18, to nine. Similarly strong numbers show support for compensating supervisors at a part-time level, rather than the current full-time salary of $51,000 a year. "There is overwhelming support for some kind of County Board reform, whether it's downsizing or switching to a part-time position, or maybe both," Sanfelippo said.

Sanfelippo said in addition to fiscal savings, more county residents could consider becoming supervisors, if the positions were part-time. "There is no such thing as a full-time or part-time supervisor. What you do is, you have a supervisor who fulfills his or her duties, and his responsibilities to his constituents," Milwaukee County Board Supervisor John Weishan said.

Weishan spoke with FOX6 News on Sunday, April 1st, and Weishan said Wednesday he stands by his statements. "I think this is an effort by those who are just anti-government in general. If we had two supervisors, they would demand we have one," Weishan said. "It's not that I'm anti-government. What I am is anti-redundant, wasteful, dysfunctional government," Sanfelippo said.

Sanfelippo said Milwaukee County is Wisconsin's only county that considers its board positions as full-time. The 17th District supervisor said he plans to share Tuesday's referendum results with elected officials at both county and state levels of government.