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I asked Milwaukee County Supervisor Pat Jursik for her thoughts on the legislation proposed by state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo to require a binding referendum asking voters if Milwaukee County supervisors should be part time.
Here is what she wrote me …
First, it is hard for any supervisor to discuss this issue since it affects pay and benefits; therefore, I have an automatic conflict of interest. Any attorney would call such a witness biased. This being said, I want you and all of my constituent to know that I will serve my constituents throughout my term as promised in my Oath of office no matter how this turns out.
Second, Can this job be done by a part-timer? Yes, if all you do is attend committee meetings and board meetings. Sanfelippo has already said he works part-time and therefore knows it can be done. But I would ask anyone to tell me what Sanfelippo has accomplished for his district? He has no successful projects because he does not work with others to reach consensus or compromise. He Votes “NO” on any controversial or budgetary matter which really does not require him to spend much time studying the issue. But enough about Sanfelippo, I will talk about my district. When I first ran for this office, I had a full-time law practice. I thought perhaps I’d be able to do my superviosry duties and still be able to run a scaled-down practice. Then I ran into the first major issue that effected the South Shore, the move to take down the Hoan Bridge. I reacted with creation of the Coalition to Save the Hoan. I created a Petition and held town-hall meetings. I appeared at the Press Club and many other venues to press our case for saving the Hoan. I soon discovered I had no time for other duties. I’ve fought for extension of 794, repair of the 7 Bridges, keeping the 128th open, South Shore Option for Economic Development and other projects to benefit our district. I am proud of my record. I probably sound like a candidate for re-election (as I said there is an automatic conflict for me to address this issue). I hold these accomplishments up to those of Sanfelippo to show what working full-time vs. part-time looks like.
Third: A pox on both their houses. Yes, this is base politics at its raw, ugly, take-no-hostages level. I did not vote for the current redistricting plan on the board. When the Holloway-led board did redistricting, they too used their majority to reduce Republican representation on the board basically redistricting Joe Rice out of his seat. This ugly act has now come full-circle and perhpas the “board” (some new members were elected and did not participate) has reaped what it sowed. Should we govern regionally? SEWRPC is our regional planner, and perhaps our governance should be as well. The problem with Sanfelippo’s attack from this view-point is that he would only change the rules for Milwaukee County while leaving all others the same. When you want real change, everyone should sit at that table.
Of course, I’d like to know what your thoughts are on this issue. Post your comments below!