Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Wasting away again at the County Board


…Searchin’ for something to do.
Some people claim there’s a meeting today
but I know, we’ll all just go home.

The Waukesha County Board was supposed to meet yesterday. Apparently they had nothing to do so… meeting cancelled.

Me? If you can get 35 people into a room, they oughtta find something to do, even if it’s only to figure out how to have less people in the room. As Jessica McBride points out, when asked about reducing the size of the County Board, County Board Chairman Jim Dwyer replied,

“The chairman said that scheduling debate on the proposal was not his top priority. He added: ‘We’ve got a lot of issues that the board is dealing wtih – and the administration should be dealing with – that are more important.”

Well, apparently the Board has time on it’s hands anyways, so maybe they could squeeze onto an empty agenda a proposal to shrink the board before the citizens do via referendum.

Bruce Murphy, writing in Milwaukee Magazine, points out that Wisconsin is #1 in the country for the number of supervisors per county.

Even massive states like California, New York and Texas have fewer board members than Wisconsin. This state ranks first in the number of supervisors, with just under 25 per county.

Nationally, the average county has just six board members per county. In well-supervised Wisconsin, just 12 of 72 counties have fewer than 20 board members. At the top are Marathon, Winnebago and Wood counties, with 38 board members each.

Waukesha board members are paid $9,121 annually, plus mileage to and from meetings. That’s a cost of approximately $325,000 per year, or about $270,000 more than the average county in America would pay for representation, assuming they paid this much per board member, which is unlikely.

For that matter, most county boards in the United States do not have a county executive. Los Angeles County has no executive and just five board members who oversee the government.

Nice to know we have so many idle hands in this state.

Here are some other suggestions for an empty agenda day:

Crack open last year’s budget and see if you can make further reductions. Discuss the probable new owners of Crites Field. Get a department head in there for a while. Get somebody from the state Department of Health to tell you there aren’t enough hospital beds in Waukesha in case of a pandemic (have Pro-Health there as the rebuttal).

Send out a press release asking the public to show up and “ask us anything.” Now wouldn’t that be fun?

“Excuse me. I have a map of the County Supervisors and I still can’t tell which one is mine. Can you help me? Him? Never heard of him. Are you sure?”

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