Monday, May 20th, 2019

Terry Thieme responds to Mayor Jeff Scrima’s false statements about Waukesha’s water application


Mayoral candidate and Common Council President Terry Thieme posted on Facebook a response to some of the claims made by Mayor Jeff Scrima:

We are going through the mayoral forums and I feel that it is important to have some clarifying statements to what is being said, so that the public has all of the facts.

First, the Mayor says that he stopped an agreement with Milwaukee for Lake Michigan water that was near conclusion from the prior administration. I would like to see that documentation. That statement is just not true. We had not even established a negotiating team to begin any discussions with Racine, Oak Creek, or Milwaukee until after Mayor Scrima was elected. If you remember, the mayor was angry because the Common Council had appointed the City Administrator, the Water Utility Manager, and our Community Development Director as the negotiating team. The mayor wanted to be the face of Waukesha during these negotiations. Further on in this article you will see some of the reasons why the council did not feel it was a good idea for the mayor to be on the negotiation team.

Mayor Scrima claims victory on how he led the city with signing the deal to purchase Great Lakes water from Oak Creek. The fact of the matter is that he was not supportive of this effort from the beginning of his campaign for mayor and into his term. This was substantiated in a Journal Sentinel article back on July 5, 2010 when Mayor Scrima was characterized as the stand alone city official in his opposition to the application for the Lake Michigan water supply. The mayors solution to our water supply issue was to implement a combination of treating radium-tainted water from deep wells, drilling more shallow wells, and treating water pumped from quarries. His stated theory was that this combination of treating systems would save the city taxpayers and businesses 57 million dollars. These statements were printed in the Journal Sentinel and never denied by the mayor until his decision to run for re-election in 2014. At that time, he even brought in a vendor to have a presentation to the Common Council showing how this treatment would be accomplished. This also slowed down the application process and used up a lot of valuable time to meet our 2018 deadline.

In the forum at Oak Hill Terrace on Tuesday, Mayor Scrima slipped back into some of his remarks in 2010 saying that “the south western part of the United States has found alternative sources for their water and they have it much worse than what we do.” This remark indicates that he is still not fully supportive of our application. Just to be clear, part of the condition for obtaining Great Lakes water is that there are no other viable alternatives.

Part of the job as an alderman and mayor is that we research all the issues when they are running for office. There had been several meetings discussing theses options and the mayor, knowing he was running for office, did his usual no show and was absent from those very important meetings. The mayor is also a member of the water utility commission and he had missed 9 meetings during his tenure as mayor. The interesting thing about those 9 absences was that there was a period where he missed 7 out of 11 meetings when we were discussing very important information about the Great Lakes Water Application.

Back in 2010, Mayor Scrima even refused to sign a letter saying that the lake water supply was the only reasonable option available to the city. Instead the mayor wrote a letter to the DNR Secretary that concluded the city should not move ahead with the application. Scrima was also quoted in that article as saying “if representatives of Wisconsin and the other seven Great Lakes states ask me if the city has other water sources it could use, he would reply yes we do.” Further quotes in this same article have the mayor saying “we will have water forever as long as rain falls from the sky.” If you would like more information from this article, again refer to Don Behms article in the Journal Sentinel, July 5, 2010.

These statements are very damaging and could jeopardize our water application if Mayor Scrima gets re-elected.

Mayor Scrima also talks about how he vetoed the budgets for 2011 and 2012. But yet, in the 2011 budget, he approved a capital spending budget that moved fire station number 2 a little over 1 mile at a cost of approximately 2.3 million dollars. That’s fiscally responsible?

For the 2012 budget, the mayor proposed a $136.00 garbage fee for our tax payers on top of their property tax bill. This fee would not be deductible as part of your property taxes. His other solution for balancing the budget was to furlough city workers and have service interruption. So, in other words, if you go to city hall to pay your taxes, there could be longer lines because of this. We attend budget meetings so different ideas can be presented and vetted. Some good ideas come out of them but also, unfavorable ones are discussed and dismissed. The mayors ideas, if he had showed up to present them, could have been discussed at that point and thoroughly vetted, if he would have bothered to attend. He has not attended any budget meeting since he has been in office. The process would welcome the Mayors input.

These are just some examples of the poor leadership that Mayor Scrima has demonstrated. These are factual statements as you can refer to the finance committee meeting minutes or the Journal Sentinel article to substantiate this. You want a mayor that is going to be honest, punch a clock, and work collaboratvely with everyone.

Thank you citizens of Waukesha and please remember to vote on February 18.

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