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State senator has tough words for colleague seeking changes to Milwaukee Co. Board


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A Wisconsin senator says his colleagues have no business telling local governments how to run themselves.

Middleton Democrat Jon Erpenbach had harsh words Tuesday, after freshman Assembly Republican Joe Sanfelippo of West Allis said he would introduce a bill for a binding referendum on whether the Milwaukee County Board should be reduced to part-time.

Sanfelippo was on the County Board last year when he tried and failed to get members to cut their own pay. Current board leaders accused Sanfelippo of carrying water for County Executive Chris Abele, whom they say has a “personal vendetta” against them.

Abele has had a number of skirmishes with the County Board. Critics say it led him to push for a referendum to cut supervisors’ pay by 70 percent to around $15,000 a year, and to cut the board’s budget by 85 percent.

Supervisor Theo Lipscomb says it would silence the board and give the executive much more power.

Abele denies a vendetta, and says people should have the right to decide whether Milwaukee County should continue to have the state’s only full-time County Board.

Erpenbach criticized Sanfelippo for trying to take the battle to the State Capitol. In Erpenbach’s words, “I wonder how the guy would feel if Congress came in, and said we’re going to cut your pay in half – and you’re not going to get any benefits, but you have to do the same amount of work.”