Thursday, August 8, 2013

Abele's Revolving Door Policy

Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele has a problem keeping staff.  Every time one of them tells him that his privatization of county services and his war on Milwaukee County citizens are bad ideas, he sends them packing.

In the two short years he's been on his throne, he has fired a number of people, including, but not limited to:
  • Jim Burton - Director of Facilities (Abele fired him three months before the courthouse fire.)
  • Sue Black - Director of Parks (Now the county can't even get vendors for its beer gardens)
  • Frank Busalacchi - Director of Transportation (Abele fired him just before the paratransit contract snafu hit.)
  • Paula Lucey - Director of Behavioral Health (Now Abele can't find anyone suitable to run the place, due in a great part to the fact that he wants to shut it down and abandon the mentally ill.)
  • Patrick Farley - Director of Administration 
  • Nelson Soler - Director of Minority Contracting (Soler's crime was to have been appointed by Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic before Act 14 was rammed through.)
The very disturbing part of these firings is that Abele has not given one reason for any of them. One can make logical, educated guesses at some of the firings, but it is Abele's onus to be forthright and forthcoming with his bosses - the citizens of Milwaukee County.

This week, Abele added another name to this list - Cindy van Pelt:
The director of Milwaukee County's risk management division abruptly left that post this week, in the midst of the cleanup of the courthouse following last month's electrical fire, county officials said Wednesday.

Cindy VanPelt held the job as head of the county's insurance office since January 2012.

On Wednesday, VanPelt's departure was disclosed in a memo to county supervisors by Don Tyler, who heads the county's Department of Administrative Services.

The memo said that her last day with the county was Tuesday, but gave no reason for the departure.

Brendan Conway, a spokesman for County Executive Chris Abele, declined to comment on the reason for VanPelt's departure. She was paid $91,300 a year.
Again no reason was given for van Pelt's dismissal. One might guess that van Pelt was fired for being on vacation for two weeks following the courthouse fire, but then again, that would be only on her if Abele ordered her back and she refused. It could be that she didn't kiss the Emperor's ring in the correct fashion. Without Abele explaining why he fired yet another one of his staffers, there is no way of knowing.

ADDENDUM:  Why would Abele fire the person in charge of insurance issues just as the county is in the process of filing one of the biggest claims in it's history?

Abele has a lot of things he needs to come clean with, and these firings are just the tip of the iceberg.  Until then, if Abele was truly interested in efficiency, he might want to install a revolving door on his executive suite.

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