Attorneys release opinion on County Board interactions with AFSCME

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Is a Milwaukee County Board Committee authorizing illegal union negotiations? A meeting was held in Madison on Wednesday, April 10th on this issue.

Now, FOX6 News has documents that show the County Board's own attorneys tried to tell the committee, "don't do it."

The advice of corporate counsel is in a letter to Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. The attorney said he was worried a committee gave a labor negotiator permission to deal with AFSCME.

AFSCME did once represent county workers, but did not recertify after Act 10.

Attorneys advised Abele, any contract negotiations could present risks because Act 10 is tied up in the courts. But the safer route was to follow negotiating rules of Act 10.

Abele sent that opinion to Board members, asking them to follow the legal advice.

"It's my understanding it's not legal to be negotiating with any one subset of employees. And call me old fashioned, but I don't think we should be doing things that are illegal," said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.

""Is there any negotiating going on? Not at this point. Was there discussion of it? What happens in those meetings is definitely private," said County Board Chairperson Marina Demitrijevic.

A Milwaukee County Supervisor, Deanna Alexander, who is a member of that committee, says she was put under a gag order and told not to discuss it.