Milwaukee County Board creates superintendent position to run County jails

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee County Board supervisors spent Monday, November 5th putting the finishing touches on a 2013 budget. Those final touches include big changes to the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office. Among them: a new way to manage the County Correctional Facility -- taking away a large amount of the Sheriff's Office's authority over the facility, and appointing a superintendent.

On Monday, the Milwaukee County Board voted to restore the position of superintendent to oversee the House of Correction in Franklin, Huber inmates and the Inmate Medical Unit. The move comes three years after Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke took over the facility.

Some supervisors were supportive of the work Sheriff Clarke has done.

"I am not here to criticize the sheriff. He cleaned up what we asked him to clean up," Supervisor Patricia Jursik said.

Others were openly critical of the sheriff.

"Sheriff Clarke has not cleaned up anything at the House of Correction. Sheriff Clarke's professional training and background is in law enforcement. Their job is to go out and catch the bad guys. He is not a corrections expert. He has no training, no background in rehabilitation," Supervisor John Weishan said.

Supervisors also restored nearly $3 million in funding to put deputies back into actively patrolling County parks. In the same vote, the board also transferred all cell phone based 911 calls within the City of Milwaukee to the Milwaukee Police Department.

"It makes sure that our 911 calls are answered as quickly as possible. Those few seconds could mean the difference between life and death or serious injury for a certain victim," David Cullen said.

A Sheriff's Office spokesperson did not return requests from FOX6 News for comment on today's County Board decisions.

Monday's vote by the County Board doesn't actually change anything. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele can still veto the budget, and the County Board has the option to overrule that veto later this month.