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Why Scott Walker Told County Department Heads not to Attend the County Board Budget Hearings

On September 3rd, Scott Walker sent a memo to the members of the County Board of Supervisors informing them that his Department Heads will not be available for the Budget Hearings until the members of the County Board vote on a final version of the budget in November.  His rationale was simple.  His department heads had already conducted three public sessions in May (of which Walker attended two) when an overview of the County Budget was presented.  This overview included historical budget challenges, goals for the 2010 budget, and an explanation of how the budget process generally works.  After the presentation, the floor was open for public input and discussion.  

Of course, Steve Schultze, of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, once again published an article about Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker without including some relevant facts.  In his article entitled, "Walker Scolded for Keeping Department Heads Away From Budget Hearings", Schultze left out a relevant fact that public hearings already took place where the County Executive department heads were present.  He said,

"Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has ordered county department heads to stay away from County Board budget hearings, calling them an unproductive use of their time."

Here is how it works.  The department heads attend three meetings in May to present the challenges of a county budget and to hear feedback from the public.  In June, they submit their budget proposals to Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker.  At this point, the content of these budget proposals change many times.  When a final proposal is drafted, Walker submits it to the Milwaukee County Board, which decides what parts to edit.  They send it back to Scott Walker, who has the power to veto their additions. 

This process may go back and forth for a while, but the point is that none of this has happened yet.  The Department Heads don't know what's in the final budget proposal because they are still working it out with Scott Walker.  So what sense does it make for the department heads to be present at the budget hearings when they had their public sessions in May?

In Walker's letter to the members of the County Board of Supervisors, he said his department heads will be available after September 24th when the budget proposal has been submitted to the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors.  At this point, they will be available until a final version of the budget is finished sometime in November. 

Currently, the Milwaukee County Board is conducting listening session so they can use the feedback to guide their judgments when they receive a proposal from the County Executive.  But it is unnecessary for department heads to attend.  In fact, it could be argued that the County Board shouldn't schedule meetings about the budget until a preliminary budget proposal is made.  This is not how the process usually works, unless of course, County Board wants to politicize the process.  Case in point, Supervisor Elizabeth Coggs politicized the public hearing in Brown Deer by decrying Scott Walker and the Department Heads saying,

"We need to hear from the people, and department heads need to hear from the people,"

Only one problem, they've already heard from the people on May 4th, 6th, and the May 11th when the Department Heads conducted their own public hearings.  Coggs didn't bother to mention this fact because politicizing the event is more of a priority to her than telling the truth.

You can also find another report on this issue at Scottforgov.com.

 

 


Comments (4)
  • Chris Liebenthal  - You miss the point again

    The issue is that in May, Walker was still presenting artificial budget numbers. Also, those were very poorly advertised, and the May 6th session which I attended, Walker didn't.

    If it is wrong for people to speak to department heads now, two weeks before Walker issues his budget, why would it be OK to do so four months ago, when Walker wasn't even presenting accurate budget figures?

    No, Aaron, it is just more arrogance and hypocrisy from Walker, putting his campaign before his duty to Milwaukee County citizens.

  • Jason Crye

    I'm not sure what your point is. Walker attended two of the three public sessions, and they heard the opinions of the people. It would be unproductive for them to attend the budget meetings now when they are almost finished putting a budget together.

    Btw, I was at the Franklin Law Center last night when you got up and mumbled your way through a 3 minute speech. Most of the complaints about the budget came from County employees such as yourself. I do understand, now, why Scott didn't want the Department Heads there.

    Also, I heard you complaining that Scott's Department Heads couldn't answer any of your questions. Now I know why. You couldn't string together a coherent sentence at the law center. Even the board members were looking at each other wondering what your point was. Even the liberal next to me asked what you were saying. I'm not trying to be mean, but your inability to articulate an organized pattern of speech at the Law Center might be a good indication why the Department Heads couldn't answer any of your questions.
    t answer your question.

  • Chris Liebenthal  - That's not what they said

    Funny, but the four supervisors that I spoke to after the meeting said quite the opposite. So did the other members and supporters of MCF which were present. Neither did the other people that waited to thank me and congratulate me for standing up for Milwaukee County.

    Perhaps, in your desperation to libel and slander me, you were not listening with an open mind.

  • Jason Crye

    The four supervisors were being nice to you, and the MCF members, well, I don't even need to go there. Let's just say this, if MCF wants to make any public engagements in the near future, perhaps you should let another representative speak, or at least bring up an outline or a piece of paper so you don't ramble on in an unorganized way, again.

    Let's just say that I was eager to take some notes on your complaints, and the only thing I remember from your 3 minute monologue is that your first sentence was a complaint about Scott Walker (what a surprise). That's when the liberal lady to my left said, "huh?"

    Oh by the way, I don't publish threats on my website, nor do I back down from what I observe. If you had actually sounded articulate that night, I would have given you the props. I'm not like that.

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