Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Waukesha Council needs to think long and hard about who should lead the Water Utility Commission

The President of the Waukesha Water Utility Commission is ALSO the President of the Waukesha School Board.  He was nominated to serve on the Commission seven times by mayors of Waukesha.  And each time he was nominated, the Waukesha Council voted (I never heard a "nay" or an "abstain," in all those votes over the past 21 years).  And he has dutifully served each of those three year terms.  And he's angling to get another term.  As a citizen who has watched for all those decades, I thank him for his service--unpaid service.

But he should go.

The voters of the Waukesha School District (including a few who live outside the city limits) have elected Mr. Warren to be a member of the School Board six times. And for the school years '09-'10 and "10-'11 his fellow board members have elected him President of the School Board.

President of two of the largest and, arguably, most controversial enterprises in government in Waukesha County.
  • Waukesha School '09-'10 Budget:  $185.3 Million.
  • Water Utility 2010 Budget              $9.1 Million  But with plans to borrow/beg $165 Million for a major capital commitment and a daunting procedural mountain to climb.
Warren has been elected by his fellow board members to lead both of these crucial enterprises.

Is the talent pool so thin in Waukesha that one guy is needed at the top of the heap in both enterprises?  For decades?

Maybe, he's a genius?

Then, again, maybe he is a small town hustler with Madoff-sized ego, who thinks he has so much finesse and charisma and knowledge that he is needed for both these jobs, that nobody else can do them?

Maybe he's a genius?

Was it genius that led him, as the School Board's Chairman of the Finance/Facilities Committee to bring to the rest of the School Board a bright idea to get something for nothing by jumping blind into a nifty new kind of investment.  Shortly after the Board's Finance Chairman Warren led the group into this huge financial commitment, the investments turned out to be practically worthless, a turd in the punchbowl?

Some genius.

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Of the biblical allotment of three score and ten I have lived only three of them more than a bicycle ride from one of the Great Lakes. I grew up ten blocks from Lake Erie in the (once Irish/Italian ghetto, now newly-hip) "Near West Side" of Cleveland. I can still cycle to the Milwaukee lakefront in an hour and a half; but, a round-trip has always been more than I would (noror ever did) attempt. -0- I'm a "...somewhat combative pacifist and fairly cooperative anarchist," after the example of Grace Paley (1922-2007). -0- I'm always cheerful when I pay my taxes (having refused--when necessary--to pay that portion of them dedicated to war). -0- And I always, always vote.