MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A state legislative bill to slash the powers and salaries of Milwaukee County Board members is being delayed until next month.
Majority Assembly Republicans tried pushing the measure through Wednesday on a 57-39 vote – but Democrats used a procedural move to temporarily block the bill’s passage.
Former Milwaukee County Supervisor Joe Sanfelippo wrote the bill soon after he joined the Assembly. He said Wisconsin’s largest county board needs reforms that it refuses to adopt – and he disputed claims from Democrats that it’s nothing more than a power grab by County Executive Chris Abele.
The bill would give the executive more powers, but Sanfelippo said there’s no way that person would get carte blanche authority to do what he or she wants. Sanfelippo also said the county government would be more efficient, because department heads would take direction from one person instead of the 19 elected supervisors.
Among other things, the bill would cut the County Board’s budget by two-thirds and the supervisors’ salaries in half.
It also cuts back the board’s roles in things like labor negotiations. The members’ terms would also be sliced from four years to two.