Thursday, February 7, 2013

Abele Doesn't Like The Taste Of His Own Medicine

As the gentle reader is aware, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has been actively campaigning to have the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors hamstrung, even though the facts show that it is Abele that can't do his job properly. Abele's attack on the Board is nothing more than a temper tantrum of an overgrown spoiled brat that got told "no."

Then along comes Supervisor Deanna Alexander - who doesn't even know where her own district is - introducing a last minute resolution to ask for the state to do an audit of the County Board.

In a move that surprised even me, Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic took that proposal and used it in an amazing feat of political judo, calling for an audit of not just the board, but the entire county:
The measure approved by the board calls for requesting the Legislature to order an audit of Milwaukee County government and to also authorize County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic to hire a private firm to do the audit.

The private firm is considered the likely alternative to be pursued. The co-chairman of the legislative panel overseeing state audits has said a request for a Milwaukee County audit wasn't likely to get a high priority.

Dimitrijevic said she'll seek a local, independent firm that can do the review and conduct it as soon as possible. She emphasized the study would be comprehensive in scope and not just a look at the County Board.

"We want to make sure it's someone objective, independent," she said. The cost will come from the board's $6.5 million 2013 budget.
Needless to say, Abele had another tantrum over this. But this time, I suspect that his tantrum comes more from fear than anger.

That is because the County Executive's Office has been the one overlooked for years and is the source of the greatest waste.

Many departments in the county is very top heavy, with people - usually cronies of the county executive - taking up space and money in made up administrative positions. The Parks Department alone has a dozen people earning executive grade pay but no one is sure what half of them do.

But the county executive's office itself really needs a closer look than it has had.

Well, to be accurate, it has had a pretty close look over the past three years. And the name of the "auditor" taking that close look is John Doe.

We have learned over the past three years that then County Executive Scott Walker had almost everyone in his office doing campaign work for himself and Brett Davis, his first choice as Lieutenant Governor. The staffers that we know who have been doing political work on county time include his Chief of Staff (Tom Nardelli); two different Deputy Chiefs of Staff (Tim Russell and Kelly Rindfleisch); his spokeswoman (Fran McLaughlin); his Director of Constituent Affairs (Darlene Wink); and his Director of Administration (Cindy Archer). And this doesn't include the staff that he was using to strong arm vendors to donate to his Operation Freedom campaign/veterans fund. Nor does it include the inordinate amount of time that Walker spent campaigning for governor over the course of years.

Abele has shown himself to be not much better. He and his staff seem to have a lot of free time to go to Madison to schmooze politicians for his comptroller and now asking for them to put a hit on the County Board. Abele has also used his Director of Administration, Patrick Farley, in an effort to frame former Supervisor Johnny Thomas. He then used his staff to campaign to get Farley reconfirmed as Chief of Staff.

To make matters worse, besides already being already overstaffed, Abele had proposed in his last budget to add two more positions - including one for a "policy initiative analyst" which would have been paid more than $100,000. Likewise, he wanted to jack up his budget by some 25%. So much for his claims of not wanting to waste taxpayer dollars and desire for efficiency. I wonder which crony he had in mind for that made up spot.

It's pretty obvious that whether it's Walker or Abele, the county executive has too much free time and has too many staff if they can constantly use them for things other than county business.

Is it any wonder that Abele doesn't want people to take a look at the whole county government? His hypocrisy will be laid bare for all to see.


  1. This war between the County Executive and the chair of the County Board is making me sick. And it is NOT doing anything to help the county. Instead of fighting each other they should be sitting down together to see how they can fight for the residents of Milwaukee. I wouldn't vote for either one of them today.

  2. Pat Farley is not the Exec's Chief of Staff.

    The salary of the proposed special initiatives position was $72,000, not $100,000.

    I'd like for you to explain how you have any credibility on anything.

    1. You're right, Farley is the Director of Administration. I've corrected the post. But does that make the wrongs they did any better? I think not.

    2. Anon 9:25-
      It says a lot about you that rather than address the content of Capper's post, you instead make semantic attacks. One can only assume then that you agree with the substance of his post, and just want to make sure he has all his T's crossed and I's dotted.

      "I'd like for you to explain how you have any credibility on anything."

      The simple fact that you're responding with semantic and ad hominem attacks is pretty compelling evidence that the substance of his posts are credible. If they weren't, I'm sure a perspicacious Abele fluffer like yourself would gladly point out the shortcomings of the actual substance instead of relying on puerile insults.

    3. You could tell them their friends are going to prison and they'd be arguing which way the stripes run. Of course defense funds encourage cooperation.

  3. Sorry Shane this entire blog is almost nothing but ad hominem. See Chris' post on the role of the County Board. He doesn't even seem to know what they do, apparently believes County Executives are capable of implementing pension enhancements, pension obligation bonds, and budgets unilaterally. He doesn't even know the title of the person he rails against.

    On the substance of this post, I have no disagreement with the substance as it relates to Walker's office. Near as I can tell those people were mostly useless and belong in jail.

    As far as Farley, for Chris to be right the District Attorney's Office would have to be part of the conspiracy. Maybe in Chris' world, since the Executive appears to omnipotent, the Executive could have told Chisholm's office to issue the charges against Thomas; but over here in reality that is not the case. If Farley's suspicion were frivolous the DA would have told him to buzz off. That's enough substance to negate Chris' ad hominem attack on Farley and the Executive right there.

    This would be the same DA, mind you, that Chris lauds for going after Walker's office.

    1. Naw, it just means that Farley is a darn good liar, much like his boss and his colleagues.

  4. About what did Farley lie?

  5. Just about everything:

    A review of testimony given under oath also calls into question Farley's role in the Thomas case and whether he tricked the supervisor into taking $500 in cash.

    Under cross-examination in a February preliminary hearing, Farley admitted that no vendor—including the vendor at the center of this case, PFM—had made complaints about Thomas trying to solicit money from them in exchange for approval of a contract.

    Farley also admitted that he was not aware of Thomas ever taking money to do his county job, and said that Thomas did not ask for money in exchange for voting on the contract in his committee.

    Farley stated that he did not raise his concerns to Thomas about the county's procurement process or the lack of approval of the PFM contract. Instead, he said he discussed his concerns with the county auditor, Jerome Heer, and later turned to Aaron Weiss, a criminal investigator in the district attorney's office, who proposed that Farley wear a wire and offer money to Thomas. Farley called Thomas last December and proposed meeting in Dunkin' Donuts to discuss the contract.

    Farley also stated that he did not see Thomas actually view the cash, placed inside an envelope and a folder, even though the two men were sitting across from each other at the donut shop, because he was wearing an eye patch that day. Instead, the prosecution is alleging that another law enforcement officer, sitting in the donut shop, observed Thomas looking inside both the folder and the envelope and seeing the cash.

    Farley also said under oath that after Thomas took the money, the two men had a conversation in a courthouse hallway in which Farley told Thomas that he could keep the money but that PFM did not want it to show up on campaign finance reports. Although Farley was wearing a wire in the donut shop, this conversation was not recorded.

    Farley's lucky he wasn't charged.

  6. Ugh, I spent time on another post referencing a study ( that shows that the county board is overbudgeted. Conveniently, the study also analyzes the office of the executive and finds that its budget is about half that of comparable counties. But yeah, in blogs we can just up state things that are the opposite of true, act like they're true, and hope that people agree without looking into it. Man CogDis, at least people like Charlie Sykes get paid to do this sort of thing. What's your excuse?

    1. "I spent time on another post referencing a study ( that shows that the county board is overbudgeted."

      You mean you spent time on another post misrepresenting a study you posted, much the same as you're doing here. Furthermore, you're acting as if this is some current study. You're aware this was from 2004 right?

      "Man CogDis, at least people like Charlie Sykes get paid to do this sort of thing. What's your excuse? "

      Probably the schadenfreude of watching some ideologue twist himself into logical pretzels trying to back up the BS he gets called out on instead of just saying, "Mea culpa". What can you do though, sophophobia is difficult to overcome.

  7. Oh, yeah, right. "Although Farley was wearing a wire in the donut shop, this conversation was not recorded." ...or more accurately, when it turned out that Supervisor Thomas had said nothing that might have even remotely corroborated the charges of corruption, the recorded conversation was erased and destroyed.

  8. Hey, Anonymous at 12:19... your link drew no such conclusions. In fact there were several disclaimers along the lines of this one, "It is important to note that the responsibilities and duties of staff and the associated operating budget figures vary significantly among the jurisdictions in our survey, and therefore are not directly comparable." And in fact when discussing the salary and budget for County Board members, your linked study noted -- "the 2003 salary for Milwaukee County’s full time legislators was about $21,000 less than the average of our full time survey group. Using the updated 2004 figure, Milwaukee County’s legislative salary is 31% less than the full time survey group. Based on its lower salary level, Milwaukee County would have to increase County Board salaries by 44% to reach parity with the average salary of full time legislators in the survey."

    So what's the "opposite of true" when it doesn't fit your personal bias?

  9. Having watched the county board meeting where the audit was approved sure made me wonder of what value it will provide. Why? Because the board specifically removed the word 'performance' audit from the plan.

    1. We will find out just how bad our corrupt oligarchs have engaged in cronyism. They are seeing just where the waste, fraud, and abuse is occurring on our dime. I know my taxes went up again! That's also 5 years in a row and up $1,000 in that time. Went from $3500 and change to $4600 and change. Sure I am in Tosa, but I live in a one-story three bedroom ranch w/ detached garage. Not wealthy with my nursing salary.

    2. That's because of the way Scott Walker and Jill Didier laid out the red carpet for the GMC land developers at the county grounds. Get ready, they want to triple the tax breaks.