County board members still press Abele for explanation of Black firing

Posted on: 7:14 am, August 20, 2012, by , updated on: 09:41pm, August 20, 2012

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele  continues to offer little explanation as to why he fired County Parkd Director Sue Black.

On August 20th Jim Keegan was named the interim County Parks director while Abele works to find a replacement for Sue Black.

“I’m excited about the future of the Parks and the prospect of working closely with County Executive Abele and the County Board,” Keegan said. “Residents should know their Parks system remains in the hands of people who have a proven track record of success and we will continue to strive for excellence every day.”

Abele says of Keegan in a statement, “Jim brings great experience and enthusiasm to this role. He has the full support of his management team and the 1,000 workers who make our Milwaukee County Parks the jewels that they are.”

Sue Black was fired from her post as Milwaukee County Parks Director on Thursday, August 16th. Now, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele says he’s begun a national search for a new Milwaukee County Parks Director.

On Friday, Black’s attorney Frank Gimbel told FOX6 News he faxed Abele on his client’s behalf. He asked for her personal possessions left in her office and for reinstatement of his job — or to be paid damages. Gimbel tells FOX6 News he may file suit this week.

Gimbel’s threat got the chairman of the county’s Judiciary Committee to take notice.

Abele’s office confirms a deal done under Black administration is now being looked at by county counsel. They say the owners of Crystal Ridge Ski Hill in Franklin claim they’re owed millions for improvement they’ve done on county land.

The county board recently voted  to lease that land to someone else for an athletic facility. If this isn’t the reason Abele let Black go, county supervisors say they deserve to know why.

“Pull up a lawn chair, get a fine cuban cigar and a favorite beverage because if you think the 4th of July fireworks were out of this world, you ain’t seen nothing yet,” said Mark Borkowski, Milwaukee County Supervisor.

On Monday, County Executive Abele’s office confirmed a deal done under Black’s administration is now being looked at by county counsel. The owners of Crystal Ridge Ski Hill in Franklin are claiming they are owed millions for improvements they’ve done on county land. The county voted to lease the land to someone else for an athletic facility.

Steven Taylor is not only a Milwaukee County supervisor. He’s also a Franklin alderman governing the land in question.

“That’s a project everybody got behind it passed 17 to one. here’s a situation where the contract went before corporation council. it went before ads  the comptroller, four steps before the countersigned off,” said Taylor.

Abele denied any ego clashes or personal disagreements. Abele said it’s about the best use of taxpayer dollars.

Black has won national praise for her handling of the parks. She was an enthusiastic face of a department and worked very well with the media.

Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.

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