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Greenfield Will Let Voters Weigh in on County Board Reform

The Common Council agreed to place an advisory referendum on the spring ballot.

Joe Sanfelippo was making the rounds to city and village meetings Tuesday night, essentially asking the various boards he spoke in front of to let his constiuents say if he deserves a pay decrease or should even keep his job.

Sanfelippo, the 17th District Milwaukee County Supervisor who has consituents in Greenfield, is one of a handful of supervisors seeking County Board reforms that would reduce the number of supervisors from 18 to nine and make the position part-time rather than full-time.

“The overwhelming majority of the calls we get are in support of reform,” Sanfelippo told the Greenfield Common Council on Tuesday at . “We’ve been hearing from our citizens loud and clear that reform of some type is needed. The board, unfortunately, is unwilling to listen to those calls.”

Sanfelippo was at the Common Council’s meeting requesting that alderpersons approve an advisory referendum regarding the County Board be placed on the April 2012 ballot. He prior to the meeting in Greenfield, and indicated he was going to Franklin to deliver the same message later Tuesday.

The resolution to add the referendum passed in Greenfield, 4-1, and will be posed as two questions to the voting public:

  • Do you support compensating the position of Milwaukee County Supervisor at a level that reflects the position being considered part-time in nature?
  • Shall the size of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors be reduced from its current number of 18 supervisors to nine supervisors?

Sanfelippo said fellow Supervisor Joe Rice was drawing a resolution to be presented to the County Board asking the county to place the same questions on the countywide ballot in April, but anticipated that resolution being rejected.

“The board will be shooting down having the public weigh in on reform,” Sanfelippo said. “The willingness is just not there to let the public’s opinion be heard. It’s important that we do get the question out. If the county’s not going to do it, the municipalities do have every right to step up and provide that avenue for the public.”

Greenfield Mayor Michael Neitzke, who , stressed a vote to add the referendum questions was not necessarily a vote in favor of downsizing the board, but rather an opportunity for the board’s constituents to speak up. Sanfelippo added passing the resolution was not a matter of one body of government telling another what to do.

“We’re not asking you do that,” he said. “What we’re asking you to do is provide the avenue for the public to let their voices be known and be on a public record.”

Alderman Thomas Pietrowski, who voted against the resolution, disagreed.

“If the City of Greenfield adopts this resolution to put it on our ballot, I see that as exactly what we’re doing,” Pietrowski said. “We’re saying this is what we’d like to see the county board do. I don’t agree with that.”

David Cotey December 07, 2011 at 05:45 PM
A Greenfield Patch Facebook fan showed her support of a board reduction: "YES!!! There's cities twice that size who have half the members."

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