Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker presented his 2008 budget recommendations to the County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 27th. His budget proposal affects a number of important county-provided programs and services, and I am taking a close look at them.
One area that is particularly concerning to me is the Office of the District Attorney (DA), where the county executive has proposed abolishing a key paralegal position.
In response, I have authored a budget amendment that would restore funding for this critical position. I’m proud to say that the other five women of the County Board have signed on as co-sponsors for this amendment.
District Attorney John Chisholm has told my colleagues on the County Board of Supervisors, as well as County Executive Walker that this position is crucial for keeping violent sexual predators off the streets of Milwaukee County. We understand that, if this paralegal position is not restored, the likelihood of repeat sexual predators in our neighborhoods will increase.
It typically takes about 40 employee hours to open a new file on a sex offender, due to the lengthy process of organizing several banker’s boxes of unsorted files. Without the paralegal position, prosecutors handling sex predator cases would be bogged down by paperwork, rather than performing their legal work.
I, along with Supervisors Elizabeth Coggs-Jones, Toni Clark, Marina Dimitrijevic, Peggy West and Patricia Jursik, am co-sponsoring this budget amendment and respectfully ask the county executive to reconsider his decision to cut this position. We expect the County Board to restore the position, and we also ask the county executive to support this amendment.
From now until Monday, Nov. 5, the County Board will review all of the county executive’s changes for 2008. After the Finance and Audit Committee amends the budget, the County Board will have a public hearing on 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, at the Washington Park Senior Center. This is an opportunity for constituents to share their opinions with the entire Board of Supervisors.
After hearing input from you, the County Board will adopt the 2008 budget on Monday, Nov. 5. Any vetoes from the county executive will be considered on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Input from the voters is crucial during this process. I invite you keep a close eye on this year’s budget items. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to call my office (414-278-4222) and let me know which items are a priority for you.
County Supervisor Lynne De Bruin represents Milwaukee’s 15th District.