Thursday, April 12, 2012

Addition by Subtraction

Milwaukee County is saying goodbye to a long-time
political figure who, over the twenty years that he has
been a member of the Milwaukee County Board of
Supervisors, has been both colorful and controversial
in his work and his demeanor. County Board Chairman
Lee Holloway has resigned from the board, and will
leave office on April 16.

In addition to rising to the post of Chairman, Holloway
has been --- in the eyes of at least some of his fellow
county supervisors and many board staffers --- the
courthouse bully. He has, on two occasions, gotten
into physical altercations with other supervisors in
his quest to get his way on some matter or other.
he has ridden herd on board staff members, making
it known that he was the big cheese at the office and
that to cross him in any way was not healthy to the
longevity of their jobs. Just two weeks ago Holloway
fired the only legislative staffer of supervisor Nikiya
Harris for "disrespecting" His Lordship. What was this
staffer's transgression, by the way? When asked
about the incident, Holloway would only state that
it was a "personnel matter".

However, some county workers say that it was more
of a personal matter. Some have proffered that the
Chairman was sore about Harris and her staffer,
David Crowley, didn't each fork over $30 to attend
Holloway's farewell event which was held at the
Discovery World Museum and banquet facility
near the end of March. Some courthouse insiders
have intimated that it was more likely that Crowley
ran into Holloway while each was working out at
the downtown YMCA and had not addressed the
County Board chieftain by his title, "Chairman".
Supervisor Harris confronted Holloway about the
firing, but all that he would say was that he was
"disrespected" by Crowley without going into
any details. The nerve of the knave! Some peasants
don't know the meaning of respect! Horrors!

Under the County Board's regulations, the super-
visors pick their own staffers but the staffers in
fact report to the board chairman. So via this
stipulation Holloway has the power to remove
any board staffers that he dislikes, apparently
for any reason at all, and not have to divulge
that reason. This is a rule that the County Board
may want to rethink with the departure of his
nibs Holloway. At least Harris can soon bring her
dismissed aide, Crowley, back to work without

Holloway's high-handed manner was not restricted
to the office, either. The owner of some rental pro-
perties in Milwaukee's inner city area, he has clashed
often with some of his tenants who have complained
about the poor conditions of the buildings that they
live in. Decaying structures, deficiently-working
heat and similar complaints have not only gone
ignored by Holloway but he has been accused of
sending some representatives of his to visit the
dissatisfied tenants to, shall we say, persuade
them to ease up on their criticisms of their rental
homes in Holloway's buildings and cut their
landlord some slack. Sound like slumlord behavior
to me, my fabulous readers, how about you?

So we have the portrait of a person who holds some
positions of power, and has enjoyed the inherent
power of said positions a bit too much; Lee Holloway
had gotten drunk on that power like a party reveler
imbibing strong liquor, and had developed an inflated
sense of self-importance over time. An all too familiar
story from the realm of politics. Add to that his feuds
with some of his constituents over matters pertaining
to taxation and spending (yes, Holloway has also
fought with Tea Party activists on more than a few
occasions), and his opposition to then-County
Board Executive Scott Walker and Walker's cutting
of both, thereby making it easier on Milwaukee
County homeowners regarding their property
taxes, enabling them to keep and stay in their homes,
as well as Holloway's recent arguments with current
Executive Chris Abele (a political liberal, like
Holloway) over some of the same subjects(!),
and you have a picture of a self-serving pol who
thinks that those around him (constituents included)
should cater to his majesty's whims, rather than work
in cooperation with peers and to serve the needs of
those who elected him. Your faithful Peasant says
goodbye and good riddance to Lee Holloway, and
may he be replaced by someone who knows his
or her role and does not get caught up in the cushy,
clubby, comfy trappings of the halls of power.
Because this is the biggest problem with government
officials, and the biggest obstacle to responsive,
responsible, efficient government.

Lee Holloway's departure from the Milwaukee County
Board of Supervisors is addition by subtraction. The
restoration of integrity and fairness is an addition
gained by the subtraction of Holloway from the
County Board.


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