Reflecting on Tom Ament’s political life & legacy

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Tom Ament's death is causing many in the political arena to pause and reflect on the former Milwaukee County Executive's life and legacy.

Ament served on the Milwaukee County Board and later the chairman. Then in 1992, voters made him County Executive.

Mark Borkowski was elected a county board member the same year Ament became County Executive.

"I’ll tell you he was a county government guy through and through," said Borkowski. "I think his legacy later will prove that he was an outstanding County Executive."

Borkowski says in his 30 plus years of service, Ament put his footprint on many things in the county -- including a new jail, growth on the grounds where we find Froedtert Hospital and much more.

But it's the dark cloud of the pension scandal that lingers in people's minds.

"Right now, the whole pension thing is still rather recent and you know he’s been vilified for that," said Borkowski. "Fairly or unfairly, you can talk about the lawsuit that we were vindicated on but the point is the public has its perception."

The pension scandal forced Ament to resign and gave Scott Walker a platform to forge his way to the helm of Milwaukee County government.

Walker's ascent meant Ament's descent -- which for Borkowski, was tough to see.

"The fact that it came to that, I think was stunning that realization. And then you had in essence this powerful man that was brought to his knees," said Borkowski.

Borkowski says one thing he misses is the openness between the County Executive's office and the County Board when Ament was in office. He says it's never been the same since Ament resigned.