Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Abele

Feb 29, 2016

The relationship between Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Milwaukee County Board is contentious. Abele scored a slight victory on Monday after a judge dismissed the case Milwaukee County Board Chair Theodore Lipscomb’s brought against Abele.   

Back in October of 2015, Lipscomb sued Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. Lipscomb says two issues are at the heart of the lawsuit.

The first has to do with whether Abele or the board has the power to set pay for department heads and other county employees not covered by civil service rules. And the second, has to do with whether the board has the power to require the county executive to attend certain meetings. Lipscomb says the case has merit. 

“This is not a personal dispute between me and the county executive. This is about the power of the two offices, the powers of the county executive and the powers of the county board,” Lipscomb says.

But on Monday, Circuit Court Judge William Sosnay dismissed the suit against Abele. Sosnay says that in this case, it’s the county board that should have sued, not Lipscomb.

“The court does find that the plaintiff here, the county board chairman, lacks the standing to bring the suit and the defendants motion to dismiss is hereby granted,” Sosnay says.

As for Abele’s part, he did not appear in court on Monday, but his lawyer, Ron Stadler says the court’s decision is what he expected. And he says that if the county board finds it necessary to file its own suit, he’s up for the challenge.

“I don’t think that the lawsuit itself has merit, but certainly everyone has the right to have a judge resolve that,” Stadler says.  

After the hearing on Monday, Lipscomb said he expected to refile the suit naming the entire board as the plaintiffs. In an e-mail Lipscomb sent out to board members, he noted that he would bring forth a resolution authorizing the suit this month.