Photo by Rick Wood, Milwaukee
Journal Sentinel

Dear LPS supporters,
This is a link to a League of Progressive Seniors change. org petition that addresses Senate Bill 777 currently being considered by the Wisconsin Legislature. The bill would drastically reduce the power of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors and tremendously increase the power of County Executive Chris Abele. What does this mean to us? It means that the County Executive will be able to do things like close senior centers and put parking meters in the parks without having to deal with the County Board OR the public. Basically, we will lose our voice. We are hoping to get at least 1,000 signatures on the petition. Just go to the link, sign it, and pass it on to your friends and colleagues. If you are on Facebook, you will see the petition on the League of Progressive Seniors FB page where you will be able to share it via your FB networks.

Time is short!
Please sign and share quickly.
Thank you!

The Little Prince Power Grab
Wisconsin Senate Bill 777 Summary

Together through the County Board:
Our voices saved Homeless Shelters!
Our voices saved Swimming Pools!
Our voices saved Senior Centers!
Without the balance of the County Board, we lose the platform for our voices.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele does not play well with others. He was raised in a very wealthy family and used to getting his own way. It is hard for him to operate in a democratic government where you share power, work with people who disagree and work through group process to make decisions.
The County Board – elected as the voice for local communities – opposes many of Abele’s plans. They have cut the pay for some of Abele’s administrative staff because money is so tight in local government. They have refused to approve the $60 wheel tax since 72% of Milwaukee County voters rejected it in a referendum. The Board saved the Lincoln Park swimming pool by reducing the travel allowance for County staff. The Board is now trying to stop Abele’s plan to install parking meters along the Lakefront and in every Milwaukee park charging up to $2.50 an hour to cool off on a hot summer night.
Chris Abele does not like this kind of opposition. So, he has gone to the Wisconsin State Legislature to take away the County Board’s power to challenge his decisions. Legislators have drafted a bill that is designed especially for Milwaukee County which gives the county executive royal powers and takes representative authority away from the County Board. If Abele can’t beat ‘em, he will cut off their heads.
As summarized by the state Legislative Reference Bureau, “ To the extent that a conflict exists between county board action and county executive,  the bill provides that the action of the executive or administrator shall prevail.  The bill also allows a county executive of a populous county (over 750,000 people, i.e. Milwaukee) to exercise some of the authority that would otherwise be exercised by the county board.” This bill only applies to Milwaukee.

The new princely powers include:
  • Sole Power to hire and fire certain County Department heads without Board approval or following Board hiring policies
  • Sole Power to control all aspects of county employment – hiring, compensation, fringe benefits, human resources, creation and elimination of positions, pay ranges, expense reimbursements, and classifications.
  • Sole Power over all aspects of procurement and contracts
  • Power to sign all contracts for less than $250,000 without Board or Comptroller review
  • Power to purchase, sell or lease all county land except land zoned as parks (after July 2015.) The County Executive does not have to follow established County Board policy or require review or approval of the County Board for any decision.
  • Sole power over all Airport operations
  • Sole power over mental health functions, programs, and services.
  • Sole power over parking decisions on County lands (see current conflict above.)
  • Complete control over administrative operations, staffing and pay levels. *

* If a county board reduced or eliminated the staff authorized by the county executive for operating the office of the county executive, or reduced or eliminated the appropriations for the staff and operations of the office of the county executive at any time after March 31, 2016, the county board shall restore the staff levels and appropriation levels to their levels as of April 1, 2016.

The law regarding DONATIONS, GIFTS AND GRANTS has been changed so that the county executive (no longer the Board) may accept donations, gifts or grants for any public governmental purpose within the powers of the county.
Only the County Executive gets to visit Santa.

Photo by Rick Wood, Milwaukee
Journal Sentinel

About 300 county residents showed up to voice disapproval of the plan to collect parking fees at parks, parkways and the lakefront this year. The county pay-to-park work group held the meeting at the Mitchell Park Domes on February 6th. 

Opportunities Coming up to Make Your Voice Heard!

Public Input Session
Wednesday, February 28
9:00 - 10:30 AM
Washington Park Senior Center
4420 West Vliet Street

Milwaukee County Department on Aging is creating their 2019-2021 Area Plan. This plan will define the Department on Aging’s goals for the next three years. Your input is important. Help direct the work we do serving older adults.

We need people to attend this meeting and talk about senior centers, home delivered meals and senior advocacy.

They want to hear from us!