Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Sheriff vs The County Exec

 My County Supervisor, Deanna Alexander, held a listening session tonight at Dretzka Park.

And for the Blogging Blue crew it is in her district no matter which map you use.

As a new supervisor, she did a fine job.  She took some "you can do this better" type of advice with sincerity. Actually listened to the people without interrupting and acted as a referee when guest, County Executive Chris Abele,  and constituent and attendee, Sheriff David Clarke, discussed some business in front of all of us.

Supervisor Alexander went through a couple of the upcoming issues in Thursday's County docket of business.  Everyone there was in favor of her decision to back Patrick Farley as County Department of Administrative Services Director and her position on a goofy resolution concerning ICE and illegals.  David Clarke was quite specific in his remarks basically saying this was a political position and violated federal law.  He then volleyed the question to the County Exec asking him if he supported the measure and if not, would he veto it.  County Exec Abele voiced apprehension about giving an answer before the board voted but agreed that this was an unnecessary resolution and he doesn't support and if passed on Thursday he will veto it.

Sheriff Clarke also discussed the reason he'd like to employ a personal lawyer and not use the Corporate Counsel who tried to sue him last year and accused him of a felony.  It seems that their working relationship is a bit strained.  Everyone there, except the County Exec seemed to agree that the resolution was an acceptable move.

After finishing the rest of Supervisor Alexander's agenda, she asked if there were any other questions.  A couple of people brought up some concerns and congratulated Deanna on holding this forum.

Then the Sheriff said he had a question for the County Executive.  It's concerning this:

On another matter Wednesday, the judiciary panel sided with Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and against Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. over distribution of $391,000 in federal grant money for law enforcement. Abele proposed assigning $277,400 to pay for community prosecutors, $80,000 for a court program and the rest for equipment for Wauwatosa and West Allis police departments.

The Sheriff was quite pointed in his displeasure asking if this decision was professional (political), personal or both.  The Sheriff felt it was both.  Mr. Abele answered it was neither.  The Sheriff said he was confronting the County Exec in this public forum because the decision to eliminate any money from this grant to the Sheriff's department was done without any prior notice to the Sheriff and he felt it was disrespectful of the County Exec to proceed in this fashion.

As the County Exec began answering the question he again mentioned that this was probably not the best forum to discuss policy matters but attempted to answer the question anyway.  Not satisfied with Mr. Abele's answer the Sheriff asked a followup question and as he was doing so, the County Exec stood up,  put his suit coat on and started to leave.
It was at this point that Supervisor Alexander became a referee and promptly brought the forum to a close.  

As Abele was leaving the TV Stations which were there (3 I believe) began asking him questions outside the Chalet at Dreztka.  Then they swarmed around the Sheriff as he was leaving.  When the Sheriff finished, Brendan Conway, Abele's Director of Communications started to refute the accusations of Sheriff Clarke.  Then the Sheriff returned and a heated exchange erupted between the two.  John Zapfel, the Deputy Chief of Staff for the County Exec came in and offered the Sheriff his business card so he could answer any questions the Sheriff had.  Clarke refused to take the card telling John that he discusses policy matters with decision makers not support staff.

I can't wait to see what the news channels will put up tonight.  The only news reporter I was familiar with was Charles Benson from Channel 4.  That will be my 10pm news of choice tonight.

1 comment:

Wonder Woman said...

Wow! Can't say I didn't see that coming, but Abele is playing politics with public safety. Clarke has worked very hard to instill a safer county. Abele should appreciate that before an unsafe county costs him big!