New improved process for Milwaukee County homeowners facing foreclosure and seeking mediation

February 26, 2013

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and the Metro Milwaukee Foreclosure Mediation Program (MMFMP) announced today that a new, improved process is in place for homeowners facing foreclosure and seeking mediation services.  Mediation is a confidential and voluntary process where the homeowner and the lender discuss options for resolving the foreclosure case, including reinstatement of the loan and possible modification of the loan terms.

On February 18, 2013, the Honorable Jeffrey A. Kremers, Chief Judge of Milwaukee County Circuit Court, signed the directive that requires notice of mediation be made available with the Summons and Complaint of Foreclosure, and that outlines the program details.  The MMFMP is administered by the Milwaukee County Clerk of Circuit Courts with funding from the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ).

“This newly revised model of the mediation process does more to ensure homeowners get the assistance and answers they need more quickly and efficiently, and ensures that the parties stay at the table until the matter is resolved,” Attorney General Van Hollen said.

Debra Tuttle, Executive Director and Chief Mediator with the Metro Milwaukee Foreclosure Mediation Program, shared one family’s recent experience with the program.  Tuttle said, after a series of job losses, three generations pooled their incomes and moved into the same home with their lender offering them a loan modification and lower interest rate.

“Unfortunately, the process took seven month, five mediation sessions, and the exchange of more than 250 pages of documents,” Tuttle said.  “Our new program model is the product of a collaborative effort between all of the stakeholders to the mediation process.  We really focused on identifying and eliminating the key obstacles to successful mediations.  The result is a more streamlined program using cutting-edge technology to facilitate the mediation for everyone involved.  This should produce better results across the board.”

Homeowners may visit to learn more about mediation eligibility and to fill out a “Mediation Request” form.  Typically, within 30 days of the date of receiving the foreclosure Summons and Complaint, homeowners should complete the Mediation Request Form and return it to the MMFMP to begin the application process.  However, interested parties are encouraged to contact the MMFMP at any time during the foreclosure process because sometimes mediation is available even after 30 days have passed.

With funding from the DOJ, the MMFMP announced last November the launch of the Wisconsin Foreclosure Mediation Network.  This Network is assisting other counties with starting foreclosure mediation programs, with regional centers in Wausau, La Crosse, Hudson/Eau Claire, Oshkosh and Green Bay.  The program also will “network” existing programs around the state, and provide those programs with resources and support.

Under the Joint-State Federal Mortgage Servicing Settlement announced in early 2012 involving the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers, Attorney General Van Hollen allocated $458,550 for the continuation and expansion of the network’s foreclosure mediation services.  A renewed memorandum of agreement between the DOJ and Milwaukee County continues support for the MMFMP beginning January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2013, and commits additional funds to work on expansion of the program statewide beginning October 1, 2012, through December 31, 2013.

As of July 2012, the MMFMP estimated there were more than 50,000 open residential foreclosure actions in Wisconsin.  Each foreclosure that’s avoided is estimated to save local communities and stakeholders roughly $40,000, leading to an estimated $2 billion or more impact to the state.

The MMFMP, which began in July of 2009, has previously received more than $500,000 in Department of Justice funding from the Countrywide Financial Corporation lawsuit, as well as funds from the City of Milwaukee.  Since inception, it has helped more than 3,000 families.  On average, just under 50% of all mediated cases resolve the foreclosure with a loan modification, giving homeowners a fresh start and lenders a performing loan.  When home retention is not a viable option, the programs provide resources and facilitate transitional options so borrowers have a dignified exit and a soft landing.  A survey, which included both lender’s counsel and homeowners, found that 98% of program participants would recommend the program to others in foreclosure.

Milwaukee County Board “outreach for unified reform” listening sessions set for March

February 19, 2013

Proposed agenda to focus on countywide governance, consolidated services, transit, parks & cultural attractions funding, and mental health 

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors announced today the first round of listening sessions of the “OUR Milwaukee County” government reform discussion. The word “OUR” of OUR Milwaukee County stands for “Outreach for Unified Reform.” The goals of the initiative are to discuss reform of Milwaukee County government locally and to create dialogue and listening sessions, inviting everyone whose daily lives are touched by Milwaukee County government.

Listening sessions currently scheduled include: 
Tuesday, March 12 at 6:30 p.m. 
Wilson Park Senior Center, Main Hall, 2601 W. Howard, Ave., Milwaukee 
Supervisor Jason Haas Thursday, March 14 at 6:30 p.m. 
Wauwatosa Public Library, Firefly Room, 7635 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa 
Supervisor James “Luigi” Schmitt 

Tuesday, March 19 at 6:30 p.m. 
North Shore Library, 6800 N. Port Washington Rd., Glendale 
Supervisor Theodore Lipscomb, Sr. 

Tuesday March 19 at 6:30 p.m. 
Evangel Assembly of God, Chapel area, 9920 W. Good Hope Rd., Milwaukee 
Supervisor Deanna Alexander 

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin announces closure of four centers in state

February 18, 2013

Source: Press release of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin

State Budget Cut Forces Planned Parenthood to Close four Health Centers in Shawano, Chippewa Falls, Johnson Creek, and Beaver Dam

 Today Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin announced the closure of four family planning health centers in Shawano, Chippewa Falls, Johnson Creek and Beaver Dam between April and July of this year.

These closures are a direct consequence of the Legislature’s elimination of funding benefiting patients at Planned Parenthood in the last budget cycle.

Over the past year, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin worked to minimize the impact of the Legislature’s significant budget cuts on our patients. Despite efforts to sustain services to these patients for over a year without state funding, Planned Parenthood has been forced to end health care services in these four health centers.

These unfortunate health center closures will result in the disruption and a loss of over 11,400 health care services for approximately 2,000 patients including lifesaving cancer screenings, breast exams, birth control, annual exams, pregnancy tests, STD testing and treatment, HIV screening, and referrals to a network of community resources. Planned Parenthood will maintain health care services in 23 health centers across the state.

“For 78 years, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has been providing high quality health care including lifesaving cancer screenings, well-woman exams, birth control, and testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections to approximately 80,000 women and families in 27 health centers across Wisconsin,” said Deb Bonilla, Vice President of Patient Services. “Continued patient care is our top priority. Health center staff are working with the affected patients to identify health care alternatives to minimize the impact of these closures.”

Nearly 165,000 Wisconsin women who are in need of publicly supported reproductive & sexual health services go without needed health care. Despite this unmet need, during the last budget cycle Governor Walker ended state funding for 12,000 women who receive health care at Planned Parenthood. This coupled with the Governor’s recent rejection of federal funds and the resulting drastic rollback of BadgerCare coverage will increase the amount of women who do not have access to health care. These politically motivated actions will have a significant impact on women seeking affordable health care.

“Women are going to have to drive even longer distances just to get basic health care like wellness exams, cancer screenings and birth control,” said Deb Bonilla, Vice President of Patient Services. “We are doing all we can to ensure that women get the care they need, but in some instances the resulting barriers to care will make health care access very difficult.”

In all four of these communities, Planned Parenthood is the only reproductive health provider. Uninsured or financially constrained patients seeking health care will need to travel outside of their county and in some instances up to an hour to receive essential health care services. For some women, this added burden could make the difference in whether they access routine cancer screens, STD tests, treatment or birth control.

“Cutting funds and turning away resources tied to the Medicaid program when people are going without essential health care will negatively impact community health and cost taxpayers’ money,” said Nicole Safar, Public Policy Director for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. “Barriers to preventative and lifesaving diagnostic health care will most certainly result in an increase of the number of unintended pregnancies, abortions, undetected cancer occurrences and higher STD/HIV rates. This year we will be watching closely to see what impact this budget will have on Wisconsin communities and the women and families that rely on Planned Parenthood.”

At Planned Parenthood, we remain unwavering in our belief that all people deserve access to high quality and affordable health care.  As the state’s largest non-profit reproductive health care provider, we will continue to be there for our patients to provide affordable and quality health care and to advocate on their behalf to keep them safe, healthy and strong – no matter what.

Background Information

Governor Scott Walker and the Republican controlled Legislature eliminated funding for patients accessing reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood in the 2011-2013 Biennial State Budget. The services provided by Planned Parenthood include birth control counseling and options, lifesaving cervical and breast cancer screenings, annual exams, STD testing and treatment, Well Women Exams, pregnancy testing, HIV testing, and colposcopies (advanced cervical cancer tests).

Investing in women’s health is a non-partisan issue as it contributes to healthy women, men and families for Wisconsin while saving taxpayers’ money. For every $1 spent on family planning taxpayers save $4 (The Guttmacher Institute).

The elimination of state funding to Planned Parenthood in 2012 resulted in the loss of funding in 9 of Planned Parenthood’s 27 family planning health centers in Kenosha, Winnebago, Eau Claire, Shawano, Wood, Chippewa Falls, Dodge, Fond du lac, and Jefferson Counties. These health centers serve 12,000 women each year and in 8 of the 9 counties Planned Parenthood is the ONLY family planning provider.

According to the latest data, there are 282,000 women in Wisconsin in need of publicly funded reproductive health care services.  Current provider networks and funding sources provide care for only 95,000 patients.  The vast majority of these patients do not have access to affordable health insurance and receive assistance from various public funding sources to access this basic care.

In 2008, the network of family planning providers in Wisconsin averted 24,300 unintended pregnancies, 12,100 abortions and saved  taxpayers $94 million in averted health care costs.

Closure Facts

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is closing 4 health centers in Beaver Dam, Shawano, Johnson Creek and Chippewa Falls. Health center staff at the four affected health centers have been serving the communities for decades: Beaver Dam 1977, Chippewa Falls 1984, Shawano 1979, and Johnson Creek 1999.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin health centers will close on the following dates:  Shawano April 19; Chippewa Falls May 17; Beaver Dam June 14; Johnson Creek July 19.

These four health centers provide birth control counseling and options, lifesaving cervical and breast cancer screenings, annual exams, STD testing and treatment, Well Women Exams, pregnancy testing, HIV testing and referrals to a network of community resources.

In just the last 10 years these four health centers have provided services to 26,951 patients.

PPWI’s Role as the Leading Provider of Women’s and Reproductive Health in Wisconsin

Temporary Planned Parenthood

For 78 years, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has been the leading reproductive health care provider in the state.  PPWI provided essential health care services like cervical and breast cancer screenings, wellness exams, STD testing and treatment, and birth control education and services to 80,000 patients in 2012.





Governor Walker announces education initiatives with focus on performance

February 17, 2013

 Source: Press release from Office of Governor Walker 

Transforming Education: Focus on Performance

Today, Governor Walker announced a $475.6 million investment in new state funds into public education and other quality opportunities for students throughout our state.  The education initiatives in the Governor’s upcoming budget focus on performance, accountability, achievement, and supporting teacher development.

“Every child, regardless of their zip code, deserves access to a great education, which is why it is so important to make sure all of our schools are performing well,” said Governor Walker.  “We need to reward and replicate success while providing tools to struggling schools to help them improve.  Our goal is to help each school excel, so all of our kids have access to a world-class education.”

The Governor’s budget will make this significant investment aimed at transforming education to equip our students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.  Initiatives will reward successes and provide incentives to drive achievement and accountability.

According to the 2012 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data and a recent Harvard study measuring states’ progress in both reading and math, Wisconsin shows Wisconsin ranks 38th out of 41 states with complete data between 1992 and 2011.  We need to help underperforming schools dramatically improve their results.

Among the education programs and initiatives funded in Governor Walker’s budget are:

Performance and Accountability Initiatives:

  • K-12 School Equalization Aids:  Invest an additional $129.2 million in our public schools by adding $42.9 million in fiscal year 2014 and $86.3 million in fiscal year 2015 to the public school equalization aid formula.
  • K-12 School Performance Incentive Program:  In addition to increases in equalization aids, the state will create a new fund of $64 million in the 2014-15 school year based on performance on the school report cards.
    • Reward High-Performing Schools: $24 million will be awarded to schools with grades of “significantly exceeds expectations” or “exceeds expectations.”  $30 million will be awarded to schools that improve report card scores by at least three points (out of 100 total) over the prior year.  Although school districts are permitted to set policies regarding district wide objectives for use of awards, awarded schools will have discretion over spending the awards.  Awards could fund one-time items such as teacher bonuses, purchases of new technology, or facility upgrades.
    • Help Under-Performing School: $10M will be available as competitive grant funding for school districts that present innovative plans to turn around failing schools.  Support for these districts recognizes the unique challenges faced by schools and provides opportunity and support for improvement.
  • Data Systems:  Fund $13.9 million, which are the remaining funds needed to implement the Statewide Student Information System, and $6.6 million for the Longitudinal Data System and WISEdash interface.
  • UW Incentive Grant Program:  The state will invest $20 million to support initiatives that further economic development, address employer needs through development of a skilled workforce, and improve affordability to students.
  • UW Block Grant: Provide the University of Wisconsin System with increased flexibility through continued implementation of a block grant funding structure.  In addition to other programs, the UW’s block grant (adjusted base of $884.1 million) will see an additional $42.9 million in FY14 and $67.8 million in FY15.
  • College Tuition Tax Deduction: Index the college tuition tax deduction to inflation to protect the value of the tax deduction for middle class taxpayers.
  • Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) Performance Funding: In addition, the budget will phase in performance funding for all of the state aid given to technical colleges.  It will begin at 10 percent in 2014-15 and would eventually total all $88.5 million general aid through performance by 2020.  This would be roughly one-tenth of WTCS school operational budgets.  The funding formula would be developed by WTCS with DOA oversight.  The formula would be required to have a focus on job placement and programs focused in high demand fields.
  • Wisconsin Covenant:  Wisconsin will honor the commitment made by the prior administration to students by allocating $4 million in FY14 and $8 million in FY15 to cover the cost of tuition grants to students.

Governor Walker believes our children should be learning from the best and brightest in their classrooms.  The Governor’s budget also focuses on:

Supporting Our Teachers:

  • ·         Educator Effectiveness System:  Provides $13.5 million to implement the system for evaluating all teachers and principals statewide, cover Department of Public Instruction (DPI) implementation, and approximately $80 per teacher to districts to purchase and implement the system.
  • ·         Teach for America: Funds $1 million for an expanded Teach for America presence in Milwaukee.
  • ·         WISELearn Portal:  Teachers need tools that adapt to their style of teaching and best practices proven to get results so they can effectively tailor instruction to each child.  The budget provides $1.5 million for WISELearn, which will include the development of an online portal that will offer blended learning opportunities for students, online content for teachers and students to grow, and tools for teachers to collaborate with peers and expand their reach through digital learning.
  • ·         SMARTER Balanced Assessments: Support the Department of Public Instruction in its effort to move away from the much-criticized WKCE test and towards a less burdensome, more useful test to be adopted in grades 4-8.  $11.5 million will be included as a part of the ACT Suite.

K-12 Initiatives (Previously Announced):

  • Explore, Plan, ACT, WorkKeys: Fund $11.5 million over the biennium for the ACT, the WorkKeys (which measures work readiness), and the precursor Explore and Plan tests to help parents and teachers understand which students are ready for college or a career by 11th grade.  Using these tests will allow schools to provide these students with opportunities to begin taking AP and other advanced course work, while ensuring 12thgraders who are behind get the remedial education they need to catch up.  These tests are vital to measuring student academic growth in high schools for the purposes of state school report cards.
  • ·         Read to Lead Screener: In 2011, Governor Walker convened a bipartisan group of legislators, researchers, teachers, and others under the Read to Lead Task Force.  In 2012, he signed Act 166, which, among other reading and teaching reforms, paid for a screener to measure the literacy skills of every child as soon as he or she enters kindergarten.  Beginning in the fall of 2013, we will follow the recommendations of the Task Force by extending the screener to 4K and 1st grade.  The following year we will also add 2nd grade.  The total cost of these additions will be $2,847,000 over the biennium.
  • Academic and Career Plans: Give every child the opportunity to create an academic and career plan based on his or her interests, beginning in 6th grade.  These individualized plans, developed with and frequently revised by parents, teachers, and guidance counselors, will help make sure our children are on track to graduate with a diploma and a plan.  Approximately $1.1 million will be provided to school districts to fund this effort beginning in the 2014-15 school year.

University of Wisconsin System Initiatives (Previously Announced):

  • Incentive Grant Program: Invest $20 million to support initiatives increasing economic development, addressing employer needs through development of a skilled workforce, and improving affordability.
  • UW Flexible Option: Fund $2 million to support start-up costs to develop additional programs and course offerings in the new UW Flexible Option degree program.
  • Core Credit Transfer: Ensure students, who have earned credits in general education courses, get to keep those credits, even if they transfer to another school.  Require the UW and Technical Colleges to develop a core set of 30 credits transferrable between all institutions, while giving private and tribal colleges the option to participate as well.
  • Wisconsin GI Bill Tuition Remission: Align standards under the Wisconsin G.I. Bill with state veterans benefit programs in other states and eliminate an arbitrary time limit for spouses of veterans, who were disabled or killed in the line of duty, to use educational benefits.

Wisconsin Technical College System (Previously Announced):

  • Increased Aid and Flexibility for Workforce Training: Increase state general aids to technical colleges by $5 million.  A growing percentage of these funds – beginning in 2014-15 with 10% – will be tied to performance to allow the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) to adjust its offerings to meet future skills gaps.
  • In addition, WTCS will be given flexibility over $22 million in existing funds related to worker training.  WTCS can use these funds to incentivize training program expansion in areas of high-demand.


Millions for Hoan Bridge repair in Gov. Walker’s budget

February 15, 2013

Sinicki and Honadel applaud budget funding for Hoan Bridge

This afternoon south side State Representatives Mark Honadel (R-South Milwaukee) and Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) thanked Governor Walker for keeping his promises to residents of the south shore of Milwaukee, St. Francis, Cudahy and Oak Creek.  The Governor announced his major budget allocations this morning for upcoming state road construction projects.

“Promises of transportation funding should never be taken for granted, because a lot can change in the process of putting together a state budget,” Rep. Sinicki stated.  “So Rep. Honadel and I very much appreciate that the Governor and DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb have kept their word about providing funds to repair the Hoan Bridge.”

Gov. Walker’s announcement this morning listed funding for a number of large road projects around the state, including $236 million going toward work on the Hoan Bridge and I-794.

Rep. Honadel pointed out that “commitment of this funding in the budget is the final stage of a long process that involved many south side commuters.  They let it be known that retention of the Hoan Bridge’s integrity is essential for our economic health and efficient travel.”

According to the WisDOT website, design work for the repairs started in 2012, with construction activity scheduled to begin in the fall of 2013.  The work will be divided into three sections, ranging from replacing large pieces of concrete structures to repainting andreplacing the bridge’s existing deck.

South Shore Frolics organizers urgently seeking donations for parade

February 15, 2013

The South Shore Frolics organizers are urgently seeking public and private donations to reinstate the event’s parade this summer. The parade was canceled last year when the Bay View Lions, who produce and sponsor the event, were unable to secure adequate funding to finance the parade.

The parade is scheduled for Saturday, July 13. This year marks the 64th annual Frolics event.

To date the Lions have raised 20 percent of the $30,000 required to underwrite the parade, Patty Pritchard Thompson announced today, in an emailed funding-appeal. “The full $30K number needs to be reached no later than Thursday, February 28, for the Parade to continue! ” Thompson said.

The Bay View Business Improvement District (BID #44) matched the first $3,000.

In addition to sponsorships and donations, the Lions ask that members of the community help spread the word that funding is critical in order to save the 2013 South Shore Frolics parade.

Learn about sponsorship levels here.

For more information, contact Patty Pritchard Thompson or send your donation to:

Bay View Lions Club
Attn: Parade
PO Box 070104
Milwaukee, WI 53207

Checks are payable to the Bay View Lions Club



Wisconsin Senator Chris Larson’s statement re Governor Walker’s BadgerCare funding decision

February 13, 2013

“Governor Walker’s refusal to truly strengthen BadgerCare for Wisconsin’s working families is an attack on the growth of our middle class. Forcing working families to try and find healthcare in Governor Walker’s failing economy is not a middle path.  If Governor Walker cared about building a strong middle class and a healthy workforce, he would accept all available funding to strengthen BadgerCare and give 175,000 more working Wisconsinites access to economic stability through affordable healthcare.” 

“Governor Walker made the wrong decision for Wisconsin families. Had Governor Walker chosen another path, 175,000 more working Wisconsinites could have access to health care, reports show 10,500 new jobs could be created and Wisconsin could save $495 million over the next 10 years.”

Source: Office of State Senator Chris Larson

DNR’s statewide birding report — rare sitings of boreal owl in northern Minnesota

February 12, 2013

Statewide Birding Report from Wisconsin DNR

The diminutive (adorable!) boreal owl. This photo was captured in 2011 in Denali National Park by the US National Park Service’s Tim Rains. —courtesy NPS/Tim Rains via Wikicommons

Two stories are dominating the birding headlines in the Wisconsin this week. First, in central and southern Wisconsin, white-winged and red crossbills are visiting backyard bird feeders with unusually high frequency. Dozens of excited birders have reported these boreal finches at their sunflower and thistle seed feeders recently, suggesting the birds’ usual supply of spruce, pine, and other cone seeds has become scarce. Readers hosting crossbills at their feeders in the past month are encouraged to report their sightings to Ryan Brady ( for a statewide tally.

To the north, boreal owls are causing a stir across northeast Minnesota, with dozens of individuals being seen in broad daylight as they extend their hunting activity to survive winter’s snowy cold. Wisconsin has at least three records of this small, rarely seen owl this year, and birders in northern Wisconsin should continue to be on the lookout. Listening for mobbing, scolding chickadees is the best way to find roosting boreals. Slowly driving roads through suitable conifer-laden habitat may produce an active hunting owl. In some cases, they also hunt rodents under backyard bird feeders, especially near dusk.

In other birding news, northern hawk owls continue in Door and Douglas counties and up to 14 short-eared owls have been reported from Bong Recreation Area in Kenosha County. As one of our earliest breeding species, some great horned owls have likely begun nesting activities in the south. Eagles are being seen in good numbers at traditional wintering areas along the Mississippi and Lower Wisconsin River. 

Birders are also buzzing over the upcoming Great Backyard Bird Count to be held across the continent from Feb 15-18 (  It is an easy way for bird enthusiasts of all skill and age levels to contribute to bird monitoring. As always, please contribute your daily bird sightings to Wisconsin eBird at  to help us better track bird populations. – Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland


MCTS schedule changes effective March 3, 2013

February 12, 2013

Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) announces schedule changes to several routes effective Sunday, March 3, 2013.

Schedules change up to four times a year to accommodate regular seasonal adjustments. The following route schedules are changing on March 3:

BlueLine (Fond du Lac-National), RedLine (Capitol Drive), 10 (Humboldt – Wisconsin), 15 (Holton – Kinnickinnic), 23 (Fond du Lac – National), 27 (27th Street), 40 (College – Ryan Flyer), 42U (6th Street – Port Washington Rd. UBUS), 43 (Whitnall Flyer), 44 (National Flyer), 46 (Loomis – Southridge Flyer), 48 (South Shore Flyer), 57 (Walnut – N. 92nd), 60 (Burleigh Street), 67 (N. 76th – S. 84th), 76 (N. 60th – S. 70th), 80 (6thStreet) and 223 (Park Place – Bradley Woods Shuttle).

Customers are encouraged to check buses on February 27 for new schedules, call the 24 hour automated bus information line at 414-344-6711 or view a preview online at starting on February 20.

The Google Transit Trip planner located on the homepage of is the best way to plan your bus trip. Just input your starting point and destination to get customized route and schedule information.

County Supervisor Mayo challenges claims made in county exec’s State of the County Address

February 11, 2013

Milwaukee County 7th District Supervisor Michael Mayo, Sr. (Chair, Transportation, Public Works & Transit Committee ) challenged several items in the State of the County speech delivered by the county executive on Monday, February 11, 2013 at the Oak Creek Police Department.

“I’m not interested in throwing the County Executive under the bus, despite the fact that he continuously throws the Board under the bus,” explained Supervisor Mayo. “Instead, I’m interested in transparency and honesty when it comes to doing the work of the people.” 

Supervisor Mayo went on to identify and to correct the following pieces of misinformation:

MYTH 1: “The voters asked for a change in 2012.” ?FACT: More than 80 percent of Milwaukee County residents did NOT vote on pay or size of the Board. The question about the board appeared in only 12 of Milwaukee County’s 19 municipalities.

MYTH 2: “For decades, experts and advocates have called for moving away from outdated, institutional care and into a more community-based mental health system.”

FACT: The Milwaukee County Board has been the guardian of Milwaukee County’s most vulnerable when private hospitals have turned them away. Additionally, to help transition patients into integrated, community settings, the Board has created hundreds of supportive housing units via public-private partnerships throughout Milwaukee County. In fact, the Board and county executive have agreed on a $3 million investment in community-based services.

MYTH 3: “Another big effort we are moving forward on this year is taking a close look at how Milwaukee County uses the buildings and resources we have.”

FACT: Neither the Committee on Transportation, Public Works & Transit nor the Board has been given the Facilities plan by the County Executive. Last year, the plan was delayed in the Department of Administrative Services until it was too late for budget implementation in 2013.

MYTH 4: “The [City/County Parks Patrol] plan … had the backing of all the mayors, village administrators and police chiefs in Milwaukee County.”

FACT: Not all the mayors, village administrators and police chiefs weighed-in on this matter. Their silence should not be interpreted as support.

MYTH 5: “Unfortunately, this system is facing a fiscal cliff of its own as a result of the transit cuts from the state.”

FACT: The best way to remove transit from property taxes is with a dedicated sales tax. In two, recent media interviews about 24 hours apart, the County Executive both expressed support for a sales tax that would fund a new arena for the Bucks and condemned a sales tax that would fund transit as “regressive.”

“Again, what’s most important is doing the people’s work with transparency and honesty,” said Supervisor Mayo. “This county executive has demonstrated time and time again – from the Parks Patrol plan to the Facilities plan – that he disregards the necessary checks and balances role of the legislative branch of government in Milwaukee County.”

Source: Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors 

Results from Feb. 7 Milwaukee County Board meeting

February 8, 2013

·        16-0 to authorize and direct the Director of Health and Human Services and the BHD Administrator to develop a detailed implementation plan for mental health redesign in Milwaukee County (Originally directed in adopted resolution File No. RES 11-284)

·        16-0 to layover the confirmations of Supervisors: Alexander, Jursik, Lipscomb, and Taylor to War Memorial Corporation Board of Trustees for one cycle. (Items 2,4,5 and 6) 
·        16-0 confirmation appointing Supervisor Russell W. Stamper II to Milwaukee Art Museum Board for a term expiring June 1st 2014. (Item 3) 
·        16-0 all resolutions and ordinances from the committee on Finance, Personnel and Audit adopted, reports were received and placed on file. (Items 7-23)
·        16-0 all resolutions and ordinances from the committee on Health and Human Needs were adopted; reports were received and placed on file. (Items 24-33)
·        16-0 all resolutions and ordinances from the committee on Judiciary, Safety and General Services were adopted; reports were received and placed on file. (Items 34,35,37- 44)
·        13-3 (No: Borkowski, Mayo and Taylor) to authorize Department of Administrative Services (DAS) to set forth a model for the provision of shared services and transition of management of the County Correctional Facility- South from the office of the Sheriff to the Executive Branch. Effective April 2013. (Item 36) 
·        16-0 all resolutions and ordinances from the committee on Parks, Energy and Environment, were adopted, reports were received and placed on file. (Items 45-50,52)
·        14-2 (No: Broderick and Jursik) requesting authorization to amend the Weigel Brocasting Co. and Hearst Corporation Lease Agreements by redirecting Parks general revenue to the designated Estabrook Dam Trust Account. (Item 51)
·        16-0 all resolutions and ordinances from the committee on Transportation, Public Works and Transit were adopted; reports were received and placed on file. (Items 53-59) Item 58 file 13-97 was adopted by the Finance, Personnel and Audit committee, moot in TPW.
·        16-0 all resolutions and ordinances from the committee on Economic and Community Development, reports were received and placed on file. (Items 60-64)
·        16-0 to request Audit Services Division of the office of the Comptroller to confirm that independent outside audit meets professional auditing standards. (Item 65)
·        14-2 (No: Broderick and Mayo) DAS requesting authorization to retain Reinhart Boerner and Van Deuren S.C. for legal services related to the downtown Transit Center and to extend legal services contract by $100,000. (Item 66)

All other items on today’s agenda were approved with no objection.  The complete digest agenda from today’s meeting can be found on the County Legislative Information Center:

The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. in Room 200 of the Milwaukee County Courthouse.

County Supervisor Alexander skeptical of audit plan passed by County Board today

February 7, 2013

Milwaukee County Board District 18 Supervisor Deanna Alexander presented a plan Thursday calling for a performance audit of the County Board and County Executive departments, but critics bashed and abandoned it before debate even began.

Alexander has been making waves for speaking out about government reform and had requested a 3rd party audit of the County Board. While the Board surprised onlookers by agreeing to debate the topic, Supervisors Lipscomb and Cullen quickly distributed their own plan, with no prior notice to Alexander or other Supervisors.

Alexander, who has experience in governmental auditing, was shocked that her plan was not even discussed.  “I worked hand-in-hand with corporate counsel to ensure that the audit would provide a detailed look at performance efficiency and effectiveness without any embedded conflicts of interest,” Alexander said.  “Unfortunately, the board tossed aside a well-defined plan in favor of something with no details—no objective or scope,” she continued.

“The Lipscomb-Cullen plan has another major flaw: it puts power directly in the hands of the head of the department being audited,” said Alexander.  “Now the County Board Chairwoman gets to pick the auditor and what the audit will cover.”

The board voted against Alexander’s attempts to amend the opposition’s audit plan, and verbal insults against her ensued.  But Alexander thought it better to accept the supplemented plan, than to have no opportunity for an audit at all.

“At the end of the day, we needed this discussion to continue, and that’s why I gave it my support,” said Alexander.  “Now the key is ensuring that the chairwoman, who has grabbed the reigns of this project, gives auditors unbiased direction so that the public can truly see what is going on.”

“The people of Milwaukee County made great strides today because the entire County Board is finally discussing government reform, but the people must not retreat; the battle is not yet won,” she said.

Source: Milwaukee County Board Supervisor Deanna Alexander

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