Sunday, March 16, 2008

Will SEWRPC Appoint New Executive Director After 3/20 Closed Session?

The agenda for Thursday's 3/20 meeting of the Executive Committee of SEWRPC, the southeast regional planning commission, indicates that an appointment of a new agency Executive Director could take place following a closed session.

The agenda is here.

Agenda item #5 says that the Executive Committee will go into closed session "to consider the employment, promotion, compensation or performance of the Executive Director position," before returning to open session.

Then item #6 says "Possible appointment of a successor to the present Executive Director."

This seems to conflict with a search and hiring procedure outlined in the minutes of the previous Executive Committee meeting, on February 28th, which discusses a "broad search," though makes clear the Executive Committee retains all authority in filling the position.

The minutes are here.

Public input into the process, or movement towards not only new leadership, but to a new mission and approach for the Pewaukee-based agency - - on which the City of Milwaukee, with a population exceeding any of the non-Milwaukee Counties making up the SEWRPC region, has absolutely zero representation?

Or any movement towards a change in the way the agency does its basic business - - a management scheme that has excluded minorities and low-income participation for decades, failed to write a housing plan for its seven-county region, and left transit completely out of the $6.5 billion freeway-only transportation program it wrote for the state a few years ago for on-going implementation?

Doesn't seem to be on the agenda; some ideas are here.

Philip Evenson, the current executive director, told the Journal Sentinel last last week that he intended to retire at the end of the year.

So why the rush, and why is SEWRPC - - with 100% of its funding from taxpayer sources - - already lapsing into closed session/opaque mode when transparency would give the agency much-needed credibility?

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