Taylor’s Take: County Board Committee assignments handed out

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By Guest Blogger, Franklin Alderman and former Milwaukee County Supervisor Steve Taylor. The opinions expressed are those of Steve Taylor and not necessarily those of Kevin Fischer.

Milwaukee County Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb handed out committee assignments this week, and after having the opportunity to briefly discuss my thoughts on the Steve Scaffidi Show of WTMJ Radio Wednesday, I wanted to continue my analysis after speaking to a few of my former colleagues.

First thing and quite obvious, Supervisor Deanna Alexander doesn’t hold a chair or vice-chair position and that is simply because she doesn’t play nice with others.  Other than Dan Sebring and now Patti Logsdon, Alexander has no support.  You can’t accomplish anything with only three votes, which is why Alexander hasn’t accomplished anything since she was elected.

All four newcomers were given a vice-chair position, which is consistent with what Lipscomb did two years ago.  I will point out that my replacement was put on the Economic and Community Development Committee.  Though I’d heard many criticisms of how I did my job and my methods, at the end of the day it is all about results.  I was heavily involved in many complex deals, and in my last year shepherded through two major deals, Ballpark Commons and Oak Creek land swap, totaling $220 million in economic development.  Let’s see if Logsdon has similar results.

Sheldon Wasserman was vice-chair of Finance and Audit, and with the defeat of Chairwoman Peggy West it was assumed by some that he would ascend to the role of chair.  That didn’t happen; in fact, Wasserman didn’t even retain his vice-chair position.  I will be interested to see if there is any blowback from this perceived demotion.

Luigi Schmitt was anointed chair of Finance and Audit that also came with a $6,000 pay bump.  Schmitt has been a steady hand as chair of Personnel the past two years in battling the administration and their repeated violation of the law.  The County Board previously filed a lawsuit against the county executive to prevent him from handing out illegal pay raises, including one totaling over $50,000.

Finally, I send my condolences to Tony Staskunas, an attorney, who was named chair of Judiciary.  He will be joined by three rookies and Alexander.  Due to deaths in the county jail under the David Clarke regime, there are some major high dollar lawsuits facing the county; having three individuals with zero experience and another whose opinion has little weight could be an issue.

On April 16th the county lost 46 years of combined experience and as budgets get tighter and Chris Abele’s attempts to decimate county government continue, I will be interested to see who steps up as vocal critics.  Abele spent a lot of money to silence those who didn’t agree with him, and I wonder if my former colleagues will become battle shy because they fear being the next target of his wrath.  Only time will tell, and I remind you that elections have consequences!

Taylor’s Take: Patti Logsdon’s Rough First Day

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By Guest Blogger, Franklin Alderman and former Milwaukee County Supervisor Steve Taylor. The opinions expressed are those of Steve Taylor and not necessarily those of Kevin Fischer.

I appreciate Kevin’s offer to guest blog on topics I want to express my opinion on.  Considering that I just endured a brutal election, it can’t be a surprise that my first blog is about my observations of Patti Logsdon’s first day on the job and the Board meeting itself.  Elections have consequences and the voters decided they wanted to go in a different direction, but let’s not forget how Logsdon was elected.  Over $150,000 was spent by County Executive Chris Abele to remove me from office.  Forget that I voted the right way and delivered countless projects that benefited the district, or that if I wasn’t in office, the Ballpark Commons project would not happen.  Nope, Abele doesn’t like criticism so he used his wealth to eliminate it.

Throughout the campaign we heard very little, if anything, from Logsdon as her surrogate Deanna Alexander did the majority of the talking for her.  So it is not surprising that at Logsdon’s first meeting she appeared dazed and confused. When the roll call (attendance) was taking place, Dan Sebring had to give a nudge to remind her that her name was called.

Logsdon’s first official action was to vote for Chairman of the Board Theodore Lipscomb who ran unopposed.  You would think this was an easy decision wouldn’t you?  I guess it wasn’t as Alexander announced that she was abstaining and gave some half-baked reason why.  What did Logsdon do when it came to the actual vote?  You guessed it . . . she also abstained, and the final vote was 16-0-2.  Logsdon attempted to give her rationale before the vote; however, it was ruled out-of-order by County Clerk George Christenson.  Interesting that after her complaints that I wasn’t able to get along with others, Logsdon found an odd way to endear herself with her new colleagues.

I found the vote for first vice-chair unusual as Alexander and Logsdon voted for Marcelia Nicholson over Jim “Luigi” Schmitt.  Both brag about their conservative credentials yet voted for an extremely liberal member over one who is considered a right-leaning moderate.  Nicholson, who has two years on the Board, has consistently supported living wage ordinances and frankly everything else you would expect from a liberal; while Schmitt, the most senior member with 19 plus years of service, is an extremely fiscal conservative.

Alexander struck again when it came to the vote for second vice-chair.  Sequanna Taylor was the only supervisor who filed to run but that didn’t stop Alexander from nominating Sebring.  Her rationale was “I believe that Supervisor Sebring has been a man of few words on our body, but when he does speak I have noticed that the entire body listens.”  Sorry Alexander, the body wasn’t listening but rather shocked that Sebring was actually saying something.  When he did speak, it was usually about his loss of money because he wasn’t turning wrenches or driving for Lyft.

The rest of the day didn’t go so well for Logsdon either as sources tell me she got locked out of her office twice.  Hopefully that won’t happen again as she has already moved from her assigned office to an office right next door to Alexander.  My guess is the puppet master wants her puppet close by.  Maybe they will ask for an adjoining door.

In future blogs, when I decide to write, my focus will not be on the deficiencies of Logsdon as I believe her lack of action and lack of results will speak for itself.  I will continue to remain active, stay involved on issues that I care about, communicate with my former colleagues and add insight on matters involving the county on the Steve Scaffidi Show on WTMJ Radio.  Politics is a business and business can be rough.  The County Board is not a place for beginners – it is quite diverse, liberal and conservative, urban and suburban.

I leave you with this – a former colleague (who will remain unnamed) summed up Logsdon’s first day saying, “It was the worst performance ever by an elected official.”  That comment says a lot and I remind you that elections have consequences!