Sunday, September 25th, 2016

Half-flip fact

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The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s “Politifact” says Mayor Jeff Scrima has performed a half-flip on his half-pay promise.

“I believe I’m living up to my campaign promise,” Scrima told PolitiFact Wisconsin, arguing the city could enjoy greater benefits from his approach — especially once others contribute to the fund. “This is what I signed up for and I don’t regret it.”

The Flip-O-Meter came to a different conclusion.

The new mayor said he’d work for half pay. But under his approach, he’s taking the full salary and then putting money in a charitable fund, which carries tax advantages and control advantages. He has more say over how it is spent than if it went back to the city to hold down taxes. Creating the fund may be noble — and clever, after all it is named after his campaign slogan. But it is not what voters could have expected based on his slogan. Scrima’s latest effort, to leverage aldermen into his pledge, underlines the half-pay is doing nothing to help the city’s bottom line.

All Scrima’s bouncing on the half-pay pledge earns him a Half-Flip.

The issue of his “New Day Fund” was most recently discussed by me in my last column and Pete Kennedy’s column.

Which led me to ask this question: What is the status of Scrima’s fund? Specifically, is the fund being funded?

The answer is yes, according to Dave Schultz, president of Waukesha County Community Foundation. Schultz’s organization oversees about 160 foundation-type funds, including the one Scrima started and where he now deposits a portion of each paycheck.

Schultz said he was not authorized to provide specific numbers regarding the fund. “Every donor gets privacy,” he said. Not releasing the financials is common, he said.

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