Dark Money has no place in County Board proceedings, according to Supervisor Nicholson.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
September 23, 2016
Milwaukee, WI – On Thursday, the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors voted 11-6 to reappoint Hector Colón, as the Director of the Department for Health and Human Services in Milwaukee County. Colón was placed on a two year term probation period after Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Colón agreed on a compromised by the County Board.
Multiple supervisors during the full Board meeting on Thursday claimed that Colón was not transparent, had a disrespectful attitude towards Board members, had failed to provide certain reports to the County Board Human and Needs Committee and failed to grant courtesy visits for supervisors requesting inspection of certain County facilities under Colón’s management in the last five years.
A campaign to get Colón reappointed drew controversy when Milwaukee Works, Inc., a pro-Walker right wing non-profit organization spent thousands of dollars in mass mailings to multiple county supervisory districts and placing a half page ad on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which targeted certain supervisors who claimed during Thursday’s County Board meeting that much of the information provided by Milwaukee Works, Inc. was false and misleading. The “Stand with Hector” campaign was included in the allegations by County supervisors, but some of the Latino community leaders and businesses that helped fund the campaign say that they are not connected to Milwaukee Works, Inc. or “Dark Money.” Some of the Latino and business leaders did confirmed that they were just an unofficial group that united to support Colón’s reappointment.
Supervisor Marcelia Nicholson released the following statement about “Dark Money” on Thursday, “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. My name and face were plastered over postcards and sent to my constituents. I was also featured in a half page ad in the Journal Sentinel. These inaccurate and misleading publications were funded by a dark money organization and used scare tactics in attempt to swing my vote in favor of Director Colon’s reappointment. This organization, claiming to be the voice of the people, stifled the voices of concerned constituents not only within my own district, but across the County.
Earlier this week, I also received a letter signed by members of our State Legislature. As a dedicated Milwaukee Public Schools teacher, I am not soon to forget that these same signatories orchestrated the take over and privatization of our school system. Time and time again these State Representatives have inserted themselves into our local governance, impeded in our democratic processes, and consistently voted against the best interests of our children and our County. Not only do I question the motive behind this letter, but I refuse to be swayed by those with a personal vendetta against our great County.
In voting against the reappointment of DHHS Director Hector Colon, I chose not to be bullied and to stand with my constituents and concerned Milwaukee County citizens. I am alarmed by reports of perceived inaction by Director Colon on issues deemed important by my constituents, colleagues, and the general public. I also stand against County Executive Abele and Director Colon’s plan to privatize our mental health division. We need to work for our most vulnerable citizens, not against, and this is something that I plan to share and discuss
with the Director. While I find the result of today’s vote disappointing, in the coming months I will work cooperatively with Director Colon to improve the conditions for our most vulnerable citizens, and hold him accountable for his actions.”Colón released the following statement, “I am thankful to the county board to have the opportunity to work as your director of the Department of Health and Human Services. Thank you Chris Abele for your unwavering support, friendship and service.
This has been a tough process. I am so thankful to the StandwithHector campaign. This effort to get me re-confirmed was pretty awesome and made a difference. But more importantly, this effort brought people together from all walks and sides of life. That is what was most special and impressive to me. Let’s think about ways to keep us together – fighting for people, causes and making our world a better place to live for all. This work isn’t easy but together we can do this!!!
Thank you for your confidence and friendship!”