Voters in Milw. Co. to decide how much Supervisors should be paid

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- On Tuesday, April 1st, voters in Milwaukee County will see a referendum on the ballot that has been controversial for years. This time, the referendum is binding -- meaning the decision voters make is final. The referendum involves how much the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors should be paid.

The position of Milwaukee County Supervisor is currently a full-time position, but that could soon change.

Starting this year, state lawmakers cut the board's budget in terms of what it can use to pay itself and its staff. The $6 million budget was decreased to $2 million -- leading to a large reduction in staff.

Now, voters will be asked whether Milwaukee County Supervisors should receive an annual salary not more than the county's annual per capita income.

In 2012, that amount was $24,051. Currently, board members earn $50,679 a year.

In effect, county supervisors would be part-time.

Joe Sanfelippo is a state lawmaker involved in cutting the County Board's budget to pay themselves. Sanfelippo is a former Milwaukee County Supervisor.

"This position of a County Board Supervisor definitely is not enough for a full-time job. Granted, from district-to-district it may vary a little bit, but by doing the job myself I can tell you it's not a full-time position," Sanfelippo said.

Sanfelippo says a part-time board would meet at night -- opening the job up to professional who work other jobs during the day.

Current Milwaukee County Supervisor David Bowen disagrees -- saying the board will be part-time in 2016 anyway, due to the state law recently passed. Bowen says he believes good service should be given fair pay.

"First of all, I want people to know this is a sham. Disconnected politicians in Madison are trying to give the impression they want to get the public's approval when in actuality the information is already included in the legislation that was passed," Bowen said.

Meanwhile, a group called "Milwaukee County Forward" is spearheading an effort to get people to vote "yes" on cutting supervisors' pay.

Regardless, this is one time voters can decide not only who gets elected, but how much the job will pay.

There will be a new County Board of Supervisors elected during the next presidential election in 2016. After that, the salary would change.