The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission holds at taxpayer expense an annual dinner for Commissioners and some senior staff.following its regular final quarterly public meeting.
During a recent five-year period, the average dinner cost was $1,060, according to SEWRPC.
The dinner is on again this year, though with a bit lower profile - - but is this the right way to spend the public's money in a rough economy?
The Commission receives 100% of its annual funding from public sources: the largest donor to the agency's operating budget is Milwaukee County, one of seven counties that make up the agency's region.
Milwaukee County routinely transfers more than $800,000 to the Pewaukee-based body.
In recent years, the dinner has been held at the University Club, with a budget of about $1,000. Past menus have included beef tenderloin and truffle cake.
Information over the past few years is here, or here.
In response to a request from this blog, Executive Director Ken Yunker confirmed that this year's dinner, with a similar budget, will be held.
On December 2nd, Yunker wrote:
The Commission will be paying the cost of the dinner. The dinner is being arranged by the Commissioner hosting the meeting. The dinner budget would be similar to previous years.This notice appears on the Commission's website.
NOTICE OF MEETING SOUTHEASTERN WISCONSIN REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION QUARTERLY MEETINGIn a November 29th email, Yunker described the event this way:
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 3:00 p.m.
Zimmerman Architectural Studios, Inc. 2122 W. Mt. Vernon Avenue Milwaukee, WI 53233
In its rather obtuse style, SEWRPC's website - - though recently upgraded - - still does not provide extensive biographical information about its Commissioners, though this news story indicates that David Stroik is the CEO at Zimmermann, and David Stroik is a SEWRPC Commissioner from Washington County.The December Commission meeting will be hosted by one of the Commissioners at his offices in Milwaukee County. The annual awards gathering and refreshments/dinner will immediately follow the meeting at that location.
In an email on December 8th, 2009 on the subject, Yunker wrote:
Here is the SEWRPC link to the Commission membership roster, meeting notice and agenda.The event welcomes new Commissioners and recognizes the service of those leaving the Commission.
The dinner is not referenced in those files, and I do not know if the dinner would constitute a public meeting/extension of the Quarterly meeting, though Yunker's emails indicate that Commission matters make up some portion of the dinner's purpose.
In his December 8th, 2009 email, Yunker said "Fourteen Commissioners" attended that year's dinner, which would have been a quorum of the 21-member Commission.