When he was reelected as Milwaukee County Executive, Chris Abele said that he was looking forward to working with new County Board and the new Chairwoman, Marina Dimitrijevic.
Apparently he means “working with” the same way Scott Walker did.
Abele hired Cedarburg resident Brian Taffora to be his Economic Development Director. Per county rules, Taffora had six months to move to Milwaukee County. However, he didn’t even put his house up for sale until near the end of the six months. Abele, per the rules, gave Taffora a six month extension to move to Milwaukee County.
Now that the county board has reconfirmed Taffora to the position, they find out that Abele then did an end run around the rules and granted Taffora a four year long extension before he would be required to move to Milwaukee County.
Milwaukee County Board Supervisors are understandably livid about this back alley deal. It’s a slap in the face to them as well as to all county workers who abide by the rules.
And as Supervisor Lipscomb pointed out, it’s a bad showing to have your top salesman not even living in the community he is supposed to be promoting.
It is behavior like this which is why a proposal to have all residency waiver extensions be approved by the board was passed unanimously in committee today.
Abele gave the rationale that Taffora has been having a hard time selling his home and already has it listed below market value. He also stated that he needed Taffora in that position to continue to push the development gains which he has started.
However, this excuse doesn’t hold water. Many county workers, who are follow the residency rule, have taken a bath on their homes due to drops in property values by as much as $30,000. Furthermore, due to Abele taking full advantage and then some of Act 10, has made some county workers eligible for financial assistance, which is absolutely shameful.
We had hoped that Abele meant what he said when he promised to be different from Scott Walker. Sadly, the balancing of his budget on the backs of workers and the poor, the rewarding of cronies and the sidestepping – if not complete breaking – of the rules is all too familiar from the eight years of Walker’s regime.