Thursday, March 20, 2008

SEWRPC Set To Flush Its Credibility

Outgoing SEWRPC Executive Director Philip Evenson tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the agency doesn't have to have an open hiring process to hire his replacement.

Just let an unelected, invisible SEWRPC committee meet in the agency's Pewaukee conference room in closed session Thursday at 2:00 p.m., pick the new director, perform the secret handshakes, announce it, run out of the momentary sunshine, and adjourn.

Some behavior by an agency that gets 100% of its budget from taxpayers - - homeowners and business taxed without representation.

So the appropriate response from the region's dissed taxpayers and their seven county boards, especially Milwaukee's, which automatically sends SEWRPC a big chuck of operating capital every year, should be:

"We don't need to send you any more money. You're not a public agency, so go raise your own budget, since you are deciding without our input how to lead the agency and spend our money."

I have been raising the alarm about this undemocratic scheme at SEWRPC for days on my blog: Some history is here.

And I am not sure, given the federal government's encouragement to SEWRPC that it do more intentional outreach in its programming - - leading the agency to form an Economical Justice Task Force and make other gestures towards openness (sic) - - whether snubbing its taxpaying constituents this boldly and baldly is even legal.

As a public relations move, in a democratic society, it's certainly tone-deaf, irrational and self-sabotaging.

Does SEWRPC even care?

If it goes ahead and picks Evenson's successor Thursday afternoon, with no public input at all, the message is clear:

We Just Want Your Money.

So the next time someone suggests that SEWRPC should be heard on regional cooperation, or public planning, just remind that person that SEWRPC forfeited its authority and credibility on March 20, 2008 - - the date on which it used a true Soviet-style template to pick its next leader - - in secret, operating and cooperating with no one in their inner circle, and then foisted the chosen one on the people.


Steve Branca said...

Jim, you know I love your stuff and would take you to task only when you really need to be. Well, this is one of those timee. In all honesty, I think the Soviet reference is unnecessary. Remember, the Soviets made their leadership intentions known in advance by where people stood on top of Lenin's Tomb while reviewing parades. No, I'd say this is more Dick Cheney's style...

Anonymous said...

No Jim is right more Soviet then anything else, or Milwaukee County Board or City of Milwaukee or Milwaukee 7 or....

James Wigderson said...

Hey, that's unfair. Dick Cheney picked himself to be in charge.

No, this more like North Korea, where the Communist oligarchy merely confirmed (behind closed doors) the passage of power from father to son.