At the United Community Center, we are celebrating more than 40 years of providing quality programs and making a difference in the lives of Milwaukee youths, seniors and families. Through my time serving as executive director, I have learned a lot. Most important, I have learned that actions speak louder than words and that results speak for themselves.
Unfortunately, in Milwaukee County, recent results have been somewhat disheartening. For decades, we have seen the county's fiscal crisis affect the services that our community most depends on, including parks, transit and behavioral health services. It was not always this way. There was a time when Milwaukee County achieved national recognition and completed ambitious, successful projects under a part-time board. Projects that now define Milwaukee, such as the zoo, Mitchell Park Domes, the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts and the Regional Medical Complex were accomplished under part-time board leadership.
It is also not a coincidence that many of the county's problems began after county supervisors, under the leadership of Tom Ament, made themselves "full time" with extensive benefits including lifetime health insurance, pensions and, in 2001, the infamous pension backdrop.
This history of dysfunction has been incredibly costly, leading to an inability to make the substantive changes that would enable us to restore and enhance critical services. Milwaukee County has had numerous opportunities to reform itself but has refused to do so time and time again. The bottom line is that actions speak louder than words, and it is time to do more than simply talk about the changes that are needed to reform Milwaukee County government. Now is the time for action.
The reforms outlined in legislation authored by Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, a former county supervisor, will help us get Milwaukee back on track, back to a time of prosperous, ambitious results. The individuals that we serve through the UCC deserve the best services that can be offered and leadership that is willing to do what is best for their constituents.
I support legislation that would reform Milwaukee County governance and the positive impacts it will have on the community. I encourage you to do the same.
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