The new County Board term brings forth a new day in Milwaukee County government. Last month, I was selected by my colleagues to serve as Chairwoman of the County Board for the 2012-2016 term. We are taking a fresh approach to address challenges that face Milwaukee County. As many of you know, I am very different from previous Board Chairs. Not only am I only the second woman to hold this office, I am also the youngest.
Compared to previous terms, we are a younger and leaner Board. Eight years ago, this Board had 25 Supervisors. We have since reduced by seven. Today, these 18 Supervisors, including the five that are newly elected, are ready to work together – as a team – on your behalf.
An important part of working together is strengthening relationships with the 19 villages and cities in Milwaukee County. I aim to become a voting member of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Council and have pledged to hold listening sessions in all 19 municipalities this year. My Chat with the Chair initiative kicks off at 6:00 p.m. at the Franklin Common Council chambers Wednesday, June 6. Future Chats with the Chair will be announced soon. Please join me as we listen to you.
The County Board leadership team includes the Supervisors I have appointed to serve as Committee Chairs. It’s important to note that three of the other Supervisors who ran for Board Chair have been appointed to leadership positions. This action strengthens our team.
I also have proposed combining two of the County Board’s standing Committees with overlapping responsibilities. Merging the Finance & Audit Committee with the Personnel Committee will streamline the legislative process and possibly save tax dollars.
Continuing my effort to make County government more accessible, I am the first County Board Chairperson to have an official social media presence. On Facebook, please like the Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic page and follow me on Twitter @BoardChairwoman.
We are reaching out to our Spanish-speaking population. I have designated our first official bilingual County Board staffer. This individual, who is fluent in Spanish, will help Supervisors and staff translate documents and respond to Latino constituents.
Thanks to a Budget Amendment approved by the County Board, we are launching Phase II of the County Legislative Information Center (CLIC), which will include live and archived video from all of our County Board and Committee meetings. We also will host our 2nd annual Open House at the Courthouse.
The County Board serves as the Legislative Branch of County government. Our constituents elect us to be their voice in how County government operates. Our system encourages checks and balances. You probably agree that it’s important for the Executive and Legislative branches to view each other with a critical eye. Within this framework, we also can work together to move our community forward.
I invite the people of Milwaukee County to unite for the common good. This new term is an opportunity to start anew with a clean slate. We can accomplish a lot if we work together. I invite you to get on board, and I look forward to seeing you in the community.
Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic