Sue Black: “Betrayal has been heartbreaking” following firing

MILWAUKEE — Former Milwaukee County Parks Director Sue Black released a statement on Tuesday, August 21st on her abrupt firing by Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. 

Black’s statement reads:

I have always been open, honest and accessible and at some point in the near future I hope to be able to speak more freely.

I have spent most of my adult life promoting and improving parks as a way to increase the social and economic impacts they have on our communities. As has been widely witnessed and reported, I have great passion for this world‐renowned park system. Our on‐going successes on behalf of this community have now been abruptly terminated and after years of dedicated service, I find it unbelievable to have been unceremoniously bounced from a calling I cherish.

I love Milwaukee County, the parks I protected, the team I developed and the people of this great state.

The betrayal has been heartbreaking. Some level of justice is being pursued.

The support you have demonstrated means everything to me.

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 Monday, Abele announced Jim Keegan will be the interim Milwaukee County Parks director until a replacement for Black can be found.

Black’s former boss, Gov. Scott Walker discussed his decision to hire Black when he served as Milwaukee’s County Executive.

“When I hired Sue Black about 10 years ago, she had a great record as a state parks director in Wisconsin and Arizona,” Gov. Walker said.

Although he wouldn’t comment directly on the sudden firing, Gov. Walker credited Black as a person and a professional.

“I think her actions and the action of the Parks speak volumes about her success. She hasn’t worked for me for nearly two years and I’m not the County Executive so I’m not going to comment on the current issue just because I don’t know all the facts. I think most people would like to know more and they don’t,” Gov. Walker said.

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 what that reason is.

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

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

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