Activists to protest possible evisceration of County Board Monday
OAK CREEK (WITI) — Activists opposed to the corporate takeover of the Milwaukee County government will attend County Executive Chris Abele’s State of the County Address on Monday, February 11th to express community outrage over the possible evisceration of the County Board.
A proposal to cut the Milwaukee County Board has stirred controversy. Currently, County Board members make about $50,000 a year serving in a full-time capacity. Opponents of the board see it as bloated and wasteful and want to make those supervisors part-time positions, paying them only $15,000 a year.
Those who want to keep the County government the way it is said the idea would benefit the rich and take power out of the hands of voters.
On the 30th floor of the U.S. Bank building, in the offices of Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee recently met to raise money to plan to cut County government.
Protesters are upset with a proposal that would place a question on the April ballot asking Milwaukee County voters whether they want to cut the pay of County Board members by 70% and slash the County budget by more than $5 million.
The Greater Milwaukee Committee backs the proposal. Former state Rep. Jason Fields is working with the GMC.
“The GMC is doing what the voters asked for — 12 out of 19 municipalities. What I have a hard time believing is there are people don’t want us to tackle it to the voters and in a real democracy that’s exactly what we should be doing,” Fields said.
Selig hosted the fundraiser, along with Badger Meter CEO Rich Meeusen, Northwestern Mutual CEO Ed Zore, Investor Sheldon Lubar and Fiduciary Management CEO Ted Kellner.
“There’s a lot of corporate interests who want to take over the power of the County Board and we believe that people deserve that power not special interests,” Jennifer Epps-Addison with Citizen Action of Wisconsin said.
“I don’t see this is a power grab. I don’t see that this is their interests. There are people who want to see real Milwaukee reform, real Milwaukee County reform again. Let’s pose the question to the people who put us there,” Fields said.
The state Legislature would likely have to act within the next few weeks to get the question on the April ballot. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has signaled he’s in no rush to deal with it, and Gov. Scott Walker has said he wants the Legislature to focus on jobs issues before anything else.
In a statement, the group planning Monday’s protest said: “support of the takeover by County Executive Abele closely resembles the long-standing record of previous County Executive and current Gov. Walker of handing government to corporate elites.”
Activists will demonstrate through street theater the similarities between the anti-democratic and pro-business agendas of the Governor and the County Executive.
The demonstration continues the fight by local activists against Scott Walker, Chris Abele and the Greater Milwaukee Committee.
Abele is set to deliver his State of the County address at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Oak Creek Municipal Court Building.