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Voters Slash Milwaukee County Supervisors’ Pay and Benefits

Milwaukee County residents have created what essentially will be a part-time county board.

At the polls Tuesday, a majority of voters said supervisors’ salaries should be cut in half, to $24,000, and their benefits should be eliminated. The cuts will kick in in two years, at the end of supervisors' current four-year term.

Assemblyman and former county supervisor Joe Sanfelippo backed the referendum. He argued a part-time board likely would meet at night, offering citizens more access to board proceedings.

“You’re going to have more people in the community able to show up and participate in the meetings, but I think you’re going to have a lot more people willing to run for the positions, as well,” Sanfelippo said.

Referendum opponents said the job of county supervisor comes with a full-time workload. Supervisor David Cullen said it would be tough for someone to hold down another job, while serving on the board.

“We have a $1 billion budget, and I serve as co-chair of the finance committee, and we meet for days on end – especially in the month of October – all day, every day, deliberating on the county budget,” Cullen said.

Cullen also says constituents will get less service, if their supervisors only are in the office on a part-time basis.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele released a statement in response to the results at the polls. In it, he says he’s “happy the voters…had their voice heard on this important issue."

Ann-Elise is WUWM's news director.