Monday, October 24th, 2016

Waukesha County Board update


The Waukesha County Board Executive Committee meets this morning at 8:30am, and one of the agenda items is the reduction of the size of the Waukesha County Board. They are going to consider the two proposals from County Executive Dan Vrakas, and probably pass either the 25 member board or the 19 member board.

This will obviously be a far cry from the eleven member county board being pushed by the Waukesha Taxpayer League in their referendum/petition drive. I spoke to Chris Lufter of the Waukesha Taxpayer League last night, and while she’s pleased with the progress the petition drive was making at this stage of only two weeks, she does not have enough signatures to stop the county board from acting on their own. Given another couple of weeks, or even half the sixty days given for such an effort, and there would quite probably be a different story told.

It’s unreasonable to expect County Executive Vrakas to veto his own proposals. To be fair to him, who would’ve anticipated the momentum towards eleven County Board members that came after his proposals? And even if he did veto the reduction to 25 or 19 members in anticipation of the petition/referendum drive succeeding, his vetos would not hold.

As frustrating as the probable outcome of the next two days will be, passage by the Executive Committee followed by passage by the full County Board of one of two Vrakas’ proposals, it’s still an amazing accomplishment to have dragged the Waukesha County Board to the point where they are voting on cutting ten or sixteen members. We’re a long way from last October when Vrakas campaigned on cutting the County Board only to be sneered at by County Supervisors and former Waukesha Freeman Columnist Dennis Shook that it was a dead issue.

Other counties around the state will have Waukesha as an example and can begin their own downsizing efforts. As Chris at Spotted Horse recently wrote, gathering the signatures was easy:

Another thing I learned 99% of the people want the board downsized. {E}ven the 3 people who wouldn’t sign said they wanted a smaller number like 19 or 25 so we have won the battle to define the issue. Now its just how much smaller.

We’ll get another crack at this in Waukesha after the next decennial census. By then we will have proven that a smaller Waukesha County Board can work, and that an even smaller board would be better for Waukesha.

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