As usual, a well researched and in depth article from Bruce Murphy regarding the pay and transparency regarding the two lobbyists the Milwaukee County Board employs at taxpayer expense.
But Milwaukee County Board Chair Marina Dimitrijevic says the lobbyists are actually quite busy now. “Our Intergovernmental Relations staff is busy communicating with state legislators on our Milwaukee County legislative priorities, which the board and county executive support.”
But Conway says he’s heard from legislators that the county’s lobbyists have been spending all their time lobbying in opposition to the bill by Rep. Joe Sanfelippo to downsize the county board. One Capitol insider who knows the county lobbyists says “I would say that’s their top priority, defeating the effort to downsize the board.”
In an email exchange with Dimitrijevic I asked her “how much of county lobbyists’ time has been spent lobbying against idea of downsizing the board?” She declined to answer.
It’s worth noting that Sanfelippo’s original bill called for the legislature to approve a county referendum on whether the board should be reduced to part-time status. “Milwaukee County taxpayers were paying for county lobbyists’ efforts to prevent voters from getting a chance to vote on this,” Sanfelippo marvels.
So what exactly are the two people who are paid about $100,000 a year doing right now? Hard to say since there's no information being released to the public and the committee they report to cancelled it's meeting. But that's not the point.
The bigger issue here to me is the lack of transparency coming from one of our local elected bodies in Milwaukee. What exactly are taxpayer resources being spent on lobbying? Without an open and transparent government, it's difficult to find out.