Colón, the Director of the DHHS was placed on what some Milwaukee County Supervisors are calling it a probation period.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
September 22, 2016
Milwaukee, WI – On Thursday, the Milwaukee County Board on a vote of 11-6 approved a 2-year term reappointment of Hector Colón, the current Director of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for Milwaukee County, which otherwise would have been a 4-year term. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele was forced to take a compromise by the County Board to accept a shorter term for Colón.
Multiple supervisors on the County Board cited a lack of transparency from Abele and Colón for the last 5 years, including Colón’s disrespectful attitude towards members of the County Board Human and Needs Committee and his lack of providing information about the Mental Health facility to other Board members as well, which some claimed that Colón had ignored requests to visit department facilities too.
Supervisor Peggy West introduced a 2-year term amendment and voted for Colón’s two year reappointment. West went on record and told the Board that she was a little jealous after receiving many calls from those supporting Colón to get reappointed, but that none of them ever called her to support her when her salary position was cut in half, position turned part-time and they didn’t even called to congratulate her for becoming the first Latina Vice-chair on the County Board.
Colón will be back in October of 2018 before the full Board for reappointment consideration, if Abele reappoints him once again.
A campaign “Stand with Hector” was questioned by some Board members and asked who was funding it. The Hector campaign to get reappointed spend thousands of dollars to sway public opinion to support Colón.
The County Board can no longer be involved or provide an oversight in private contracts negotiated by Abele regarding Milwaukee County facilities and selling properties.
Supervisor Marcelia Nicholson released the following statement on Thursday, Dark Money has no place in County Board Proceedings. “As a democratically elected Supervisor, I represent my district and my constituents. The events of this week clearly demonstrated that the vote to reappoint DHHS Director Hector Colon was not intended to be democratic.”
“I am disgusted with the dark money that has been spent in an attempt to swing my vote. Instead of swinging my vote, this effort has strengthened my resolve. I should not have to be concerned that my future as a Supervisor is in jeopardy because I didn’t vote the way this dark money group, “Milwaukee Works,” wants me to vote.
“I took a stand today against the privatization efforts that are bleeding our County dry and voted against the reappointment of Hector Colon because I chose not to be bullied. Instead, I chose to stand with my constituents and against the privatization of our mental health services,” Supervisor Nicholson stated.
Colón did affirm that he is more willing to work with the County Board in the next several years.
Colón has served five years as the director of the DHHS and last year in May 2015, Abele gave Colón a 39% raise, his annual salary increased from $126,318 to $175,000 a year, making Colón the highest paid executive at a Milwaukee County department.
Under Director Colón’s leadership throughout 2015 the, DHHS reached many outstanding milestones…
• At Behavioral Health, we closed our final long term care unit and expanded our support for community based behavioral healthcare.
• With partners across business, government and nonprofit, our Housing Division launched Housing
First, an initiative to end chronic homelessness in Milwaukee County by 2018. We have already seen a 70% reduction in chronic homelessness.
• Disabilities Services began a tremendous program to provide employment opportunities for all exiting high school students with a disability in Milwaukee County.
• Delinquency and Court Services accelerated our juvenile justice reforms while advancing data-driven decision making tools and evidence-based practices that are yielding better outcomes and improved public safety.
Editors note: Hispanic News Network U.S.A. has learned that the “Stand with Hector” campaign to get Hector Colón reappointed as the Director of the Department of Health and Human Services was spearheaded by a unofficial group composed of community leaders and the support of local businesses that funded Colón’s campaign and are not connected to Milwaukee Works, Inc. or “Dark Money” as some Milwaukee County supervisors were led to believe. Most of those community and business leaders were from the Milwaukee Latino community, according to one of those leaders that participated.
They managed to send out several mass mailings to specific Supervisor districts, according to the inside source who wanted to remain anonymous.
The inside source says, “It was a good campaign. Effective, but, honestly, it worked because Hector is honorable. People know him as fair. So when they hear the supervisors trying to smear him, it doesn’t fit.”
According to a flyer supporting Colón, the Milwaukee Works, Inc., a non-profit organization distributed the flyer in Supervisors Jim “Luigi” Schmitt and Eddie Cullen’s districts.
The non-profit group website, Milwaukee Works, Inc. says, the group is committed to educating citizens about the value of good government, risk-taking enterprise, and inclusive communities.
MKE Work is considered a pro-Walker right wing group, according to some Latino community activists.