Voters should be aware of referendum question on ballot to reduce supervisor’s salaries

By Cassandra Lans

vote-buttonOn Tuesday, April 1, 2014 Milwaukee residents will have an opportunity to go to the polls and vote. In addition to an vacant aldermanic seat left open by former alderman and common council president Willie Hines, there will also be some judicial races as well.

But, a key vote that has not been talked about much since late summer and early fall is a special referendum that will appear on the ballot that will be the final decision on whether or not the salary of County Board Supervisors gets slashed.

The following is the Binding Referendum that will be on the April 1 ballot: “Shall that portion of 2013 Wisconsin Act 14 which limits the compensation of members of the board of supervisors of Milwaukee County other than the chairperson of the board and chairperson of the finance committee to receipt of an annual salary of not more than the annual per capita income of this county, which in 2012 was $24,051, and which limits the compensation of the chairperson of the board to not more than 150 percent of that amount and the chairperson of the finance committee to not more than 125 percent of that amount, subject to limitations and adjustments specified by law; and which prohibits supervisors from receiving any compensation or benefits not specifically authorized or required by law become effective in this county on April 18, 2016?”

Voting “yes” on this referendum would mean that the current County Board and the way it works which is on a full-time basis would be reduced to a part-time position. Voting “yes” would reduce supervisor salary from $50,679/year to $24,051 salary for the supervisors.

People who are for this reduction claim that the board needs to downsizing based on the manner in which other supervisors across the state work. Many of these individuals are not necessarily representing the interests of average Milwaukee residents.

Voting “no” on this referendum would keep the salary and position the same, a full-time position. People who have spoken out to keep these positions full-time state that you cannot compare Milwaukee County and the manner in which it operates with the rest of the state, because of the size and populations that are being served by the Milwaukee County Board supervisors are much larger than county districts across the state.

County Board Supervisor Willie Johnson has served as a supervisor since 2000 took a bold stand this week, and purchased print advertising in the local community newspapers to encourage residents to vote “no” on this referendum.

He states that fighting for families, living wages and economic development for Milwaukee’s residents takes more than part-time attention, and part-time pay.

Residents should also be aware that part-time representation means a part time voice on important issues that effect their day to day lives and needs.