Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Does Taxation With Representation Have Meaning At SEWRPC?

As I have noted a couple of times since Sunday on this blog - - one posting here - - the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission's agenda for its Thursday executive committee meeting suggests that it may announce a new Executive Director for the agency following a closed committee session.

The committee has that authority: the incumbent, Philip Evenson, told the committee on February 28th that he did not want his contract extended, and he confirmed that to the Journal Sentinel on Friday.

OK. So far, so good.

But there has been no SEWRPC publicly-confirmed search process announced. No candidate selection parameters. No hearings scheduled, no public participation sought, no process disclosed, no tying the agency's mission to candidates' qualifications, expectations, etc.

SEWRPC is a 100% taxpayer-funded agency, with a mission established by state law that authorizes critical planning, land-use, transportation, housing and other important matters for seven counties.

As we speak, it is more than halfway through a water supply study that will influence development, housing, land-use and highway patterns in the region for decades.

Its work, already taking place in an obscure building in Pewaukee, and without any representation from the City of Milwaukee, despites having the largest municipal population in SEWRPC's region, cries out for more, not less public input.

If one SEWRPC committee made up of virtually invisible members can pick an Executive Director without effective public notice and involvement, then "taxation without representation" should be stamped on the agency's logo.

And if SEWRPC wants to behave more like a private consulting firm and less like a public agency, county officials across the region who automatically approve operating fund transfers to SEWRPC at budget-approval time need to think seriously about withdrawing their money or their participation from SEWRPC.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The irony here is just too rich, even for you.