Milwaukee County voters have given a dramatic pay-and-benefit cut to supervisors serving on the 18 member Milwaukee County Board. Proponents have said the goal of Tuesday’s referendum was to make board part-time instead of full-time, and 71 percent of county voters appeared to think that was a good idea. The referendum cuts supervisors’ salaries in half, from $51,000 to $24,000 annually, eliminates health insurance, and ends credits towards supervisors’ pensions. The board chair will be paid $36,000 a year, down form the current $71,000.
The Wisconsin Legislature passed a bill in May of 2013, mandating a binding referendum on the changes, which will be implemented following the 2016 Milwaukee County Board elections. Two years ago, voters in a dozen Milwaukee suburbs strongly agreed that County Board members should be part-time. County Executive Chris Abele said he was pleased that voters made their voices heard, and that he looks forward to continuing to work with the County Board. Supervisor Willie Johnson said the vote was the climax of a decade of efforts to assure a conservative agenda. State Representative Joe Sanfellipo, a West Allis Republican and former supervisor, predicted that the changes would encourage more people to show up for county board meetings, and that more people would run for supervisor.