Supervisor: Tensions high among County workers following Busalacchi news

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele Wednesday night, October 17th announced County Transportation Director Frank Busalacchi no longer works for the County. This, shortly after the firing of popular Milwaukee County Parks Director Sue Black. A day later, Milwaukee County supervisors reacted to the news, and at least one supervisor told FOX6 News tensions are high.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Mark Borkowski said he was shocked to hear Busalacchi no longer works for the County.

Busalacchi was hired by Abele last year as the head of County transportation.

"Last time I talked to Frank was just yesterday. There was no indication he was leaving. Frank coming into Milwaukee County with the credentials he did -- I gotta believe the other department heads are wondering who's next? This is not a decent working environment right now," Borkowski said.

Abele spoke at the West Allis Rotary Club on Thursday and said he is prepared to make decisions that are unpopular if it's in the best interest of Milwaukee County.

"I have respect and nothing but good things to say about Frank. Our decision was based on the direction we want to get the Department of Transportation. It's not a pattern of firing people -- it's a pattern of two budgets with no tax increase, services coming back, reducing debt and not (being) afraid to make whatever decisions I have to make," Abele said.

Meanwhile, with two high-profile and seemingly successful department heads being let go in just two months, Borkowski said concerns are starting to mount.

"If he could he'd probably eliminate guys like myself and our Chairwoman because obviously there have been disagreements with all of us. Unfortunately, he can't touch us," Borkowski said.

Both Borkowski and County Supervisor Joe Sanfelippo said they understand department heads like Busalacchi and Black serve at Abele's pleasure, and he has the right to decide whom he wants working for him. However, they say letting go of these two department heads in short succession, especially when even Abele has good things to say about them, is perhaps setting a dangerous precedent.

Busalacchi had the top transportation job under Governor Jim Doyle and was appointed County Transportation Director about a year ago.

DOT Director of Operations Brian Dranzik has been named Interim Milwaukee County DOT Director.