Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

Every county supervisor a king


The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Daykin wrote about yet another move by the Milwaukee County Board that could potentially stifle development. A developer actually met all of the county board’s criteria for a development in the Park East corridor. They’re actually going above and beyond by promising to devote 40% of the construction jobs to Milwaukee County residents. The plan received unanimous support from “a panel of public officials and private-sector representatives.”

But it was postponed on a 4-2 vote  in committee because a rival developer also wants to do something on that location, and the county board members on the committee supposedly want to hear more about that proposal. According to Daykin, “Supervisors Michael Mayo, David Bowen, Willie Johnson and Jim Schmitt voted for the delay, with supervisors Steve Taylor and Khalif Rainey opposing the motion.”

By sheer coincidence, the developer’s lawyer, Brian Randall,  just happens to be the campaign treasurer for County Board Chairman Marina Dmitrijevic, something Daykin missed.

The entire bid process may have to be re-opened if the county board decides to go against the recommendation of staff and the public/private committee because now the rival developer is able to revise his plans to compete with the previously approved plan. Can you spell lawsuit?

So the lesson is clear for developers.  Hire a politically connected attorney, preferably close to County Board Chairman Dmitrijevic, and wait for the other sucker to go through the process. Then make a last-minute “revised” proposal for the board.

Or developers could decide to stop playing the game entirely. What developer has the time to run through the gauntlet of every county supervisor to make sure they don’t have a friend with a competing project?


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