Council Leadership Responds to Mayor's Veto of Council's Chief of Staff Position

Friday, June 16, 2017 - 12:23pm

Consideration of Mayoral Veto at June 20th Council Meeting

In response to the Mayor’s veto of the Common Council Chief of Staff position on June 13, 2017, as Council President, I have placed reconsideration of the veto on the June 20, 2017 Common Council agenda.

The Mayor states that he is concerned about equity and combating poverty but the message he sends with his veto shows he prefers weak legislative partners. His action shows that he is more interested in retaining the power of the executive branch than strengthening the capacity of the Common Council to jointly address the fundamental challenges facing our city. We need to move forward on our shared goals of providing effective and representative government, a healthy and safe city with strong neighborhoods, with a focus on racial equity and social justice to improve the life chances of all city residents. We see ourselves as equal partners in the governance of the city.

The Council’s adopted budget from 2010 to 2016 did not increase by 153% as the Mayor states in his veto message. In 2010, our adopted budget was $376,321 and the 2016 adopted budget was $554,998, a change of 47.48%. In 2014 and 2015, the budget actuals for the Mayor’s office exceeded the adopted budget for those years, while the Council’s actuals were under budget.

I am confident that the Council will override the veto.

Here’s why:

  • The Council Chief of Staff position will ensure that the operations and resources of the Common Council office are strategically managed to support alders in the performance of their duties as policy makers and have them be nimbler in responding to the needs of the community. We are a body of part time alders; the majority of alders work at full time jobs during the day. Twenty alders are served by an administrative assistant, secretary and legislative analyst. The Mayor has a staff of 11 people, including 5 deputy mayors.
  • Contrary to the statement in the veto message, our part time structure is not changing anytime soon, nor is our function. With the addition of this new position we will be a stronger partner to the Mayor and to Madison taxpayers.
  • The Chief of Staff position was approved in the 2017 operating budget. The proposed compensation group was changed after the Common Council Organization Committee studied the position with Human Resources staff and created a position description and contract. The Council adopted these recommendations at our June 6, 2017 meeting.

We plan to move forward with the position and will be announcing the job soon.