County Board to take up four Abele vetoes during meeting Wed.

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele late Tuesday, July 9th issued four vetoes regarding items the Milwaukee County Board has passed.

Abele issued vetoes regarding the Board's firing of its corporation counsel, and the County Board's efforts to let Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic continue with her lawsuit against the state Legislature over the size and scope of the County Board.

The County Board voted on June 20th to fire its corporation counsel, Kimberly Walker, saying the attorney just wasn't working out.

The Board needed 12 votes to remove Walker from her position, and the final vote was 13-5.
County Executive Abele says he has seen nothing that would justify Walker’s firing. He had strong words after the vote on Thursday.

“I think this is a really, really unfortunate, unfortunate day,” Abele said Thursday. “I can’t tell you why they made their decision, but I can tell you what it wasn’t — it wasn’t about who’s the best servant and Corporation Counsel for Milwaukee County.”

In his veto statement, Abele said: "I am unclear on who benefits from this decision, but I am crystal clear on who loses: the taxpayers of Milwaukee County. We lose the benefit of thoughtful and responsible counsel and simultaneously send a message to other accomplished professionals considering public service that they should not take the risk to give back to their community. This and other recent actions by the County Board will make it incredibly difficult to attract talented individuals to Milwaukee County government; I sincerely hope our services do not suffer.

I would finally like to thank the five Supervisors who did the right thing and voted against this unprecedented and unethical firing – Supervisors Alexander, Borkowski, Johnson, Mayo and Taylor."

As it relates to Board's lawsuit over the state Legislature's passage of Act 14, which  changed the compensation structure by which a Milwaukee County supervisor may be paid, and changed the term length of a Milwaukee County supervisor, Abele also issued a veto.

In a statement, Abele said: "I am vetoing this file because it is neither in the interest of the County nor the taxpayers.

Corporation Counsel, given their statutory role and according to their own statements, could guide the County on the implementation of Act 14. However, the Board voted to needlessly spend tax dollars. I remain concerned about the precedent and message this sends: that elected leaders can ask taxpayers to foot an outside counsel bill every time they disagree, or think they may disagree in the future, with Corporation Counsel. That is both costly to our community and troubling in its implications."

Abele also issued a veto on a plan to place what he calls "illegal and unprecedented wage and sick pay requirements on an extended stay hotel development at Innovation Park, despite the administration’s attempts to ensure the Supervisors were explicitly aware that such requirements would jeopardize the deal. In the wake of this vote by the Board, the developer has announced they will not move forward with the project unless the decision is overturned.

I am vetoing this resolution with the hope that the Board will realize that this project moving forward is in the best interest of our community."

Abele also issued a veto on a Board resolution with the intent of entering into an amended Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), unacceptable to Wauwatosa, for the transfer of seven Milwaukee County water utility customers and the West Water Tower to Wauwatosa.

Abele says: "If this veto is not sustained, the County Board will cost taxpayers $250,000 in revenue. This decision by the Board would ultimately put the County’s Water Utility customers at risk for more than $3 million in extra costs. In the longer term, the County will be on the hook for significant costs to invest in the water business without infrastructure or service benefits for our customers or the community."

The Milwaukee County Board is expected to take up these vetoes at its meeting Wednesday, July 10th.