Some African-American leaders are speaking up against a bill that could curtail the power of the Milwaukee County Board.
Some Republican lawmakers have been re-working a plan to trim the pay and benefits of Milwaukee County supervisors, and cut the board's budget. The measure has been softened a bit, but not enough for several Democratic state lawmakers and others who held a news conference Monday. Representative Mandela Barnes says cutting the board's pay in half, to about $24,000 a year, would discourage younger people of modest means from running for office. "When you look at other boards across the state, they're typically older, more well-to-do. People in Milwaukee wouldn't be able to do this as a part-time job."
Barnes also says Milwaukee County voters didn't ask for the legislation. He says it mainly would concentrate power in the hands of County Executive Chris Abele. But the bill's author, Representative Joe Sanfelippo of West Allis, denies it's a power grab for the county exec, and he says many supervisors in other counties aren't wealthy.