Brookfield Mayor Jeff Speaker comes up short on promise to voters

Instead of returning his salary increase as promised in 2006, he’s donated $1,750 again this year to the Brookfield Sister Cities fund. The fund, while administered by the city, isn’t really part of the budget – at least that’s what aldermen intended when the fund was set up. (I know; I voted on that one.)

Speaker promised in his 2006 re-election campaign to return the pay raise the council voted. Guess that only goes so far. He cheated voters out of a promise from his first campaign as well – only donating a return from the first year.

A May 17th article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel made these calcuations:

In subsequent years the year-end check will be larger, with compounded annual 1.5% increases. Speaker would have to pay back $2,823 in 2008, $4,267 in 2009 and $5,732 in 2010. In all he has pledged to give back $14,223.

Looks like that won’t be happening.

Do voters care? Probably not. Lies are expected from your elected.

Maybe I should trademark that phrase. Goodness knows we see it enough in Brookfield.

The Journal Sentinel has truncated their original article from last year. (It’s there right next to the dancing gingerbread people that can find you a new career!) Here’s the one I remember:

Mayor returns pay raise

Speaker gives $1,750 to Brookfield fund
LISA SINK Staff Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Published: January 8, 2008
Brookfield — Mayor Jeff Speaker returned his 2007 salary increase — and a little more — to city coffers Monday, making good on a re-election campaign promise. Speaker gave the city a check for $1,750 with a note asking that the money be placed in Brookfield’s Sister Cities fund.
“I kept my word,” Speaker said. “I did what I said I was going to do.”
His 2007 salary increase was $1,401. Speaker said he didn’t realize he paid back more than necessary; he said his wife took care of the payment.
Before the 2006 mayoral election, aldermen voted to raise the mayor’s then-$93,417 salary by 1.5% a year through 2010, when it will reach $99,149.
Speaker objected and vetoed the measure. Aldermen overrode his veto, saying higher pay was needed to attract quality candidates. A study at that time showed Brookfield’s 2004 mayoral pay was the third highest in the state, behind only Milwaukee and Madison.
After the veto override, Speaker pledged that if he won re-election to a second term, he would not accept the pay raises and would return them to the city. That would mean returning a total of $14,223 through 2010.
In Speaker’s first term, he returned his extra pay for his first year — $2,409. He kept the increases the next three years.
Speaker said Monday he will deduct the payment from his income taxes as a charitable contribution to government, based on his tax accountant’s advice.
He said he chose to place the money in the city’s small Sister Cities fund because the international connections are valuable resources for students, teachers, businesses and city departments.
“I just think it’s a wonderful cause,” Speaker said.
The mayor said he has traveled four times to the city’s sister city, Seligenstadt, Germany, all on his own dime. The most recent trip was a weeklong one in December.
Speaker’s $1,750 payment will more than double the Sister Cities budget for 2008; the city had budgeted $1,500. Private donations help fund most Sister City activities, with about $5,100 in donations raised last year, according to the city Finance Department.

(Update – 4/5/10 – here’s the latest on Jeff Speaker)

Comments

  1. I love the following quote:

    “He said he chose to place the money in the city’s small Sister Cities fund because the international connections are valuable resources for students, teachers, businesses and city departments.

    “I just think it’s a wonderful cause,” Speaker said.

    The mayor said he has traveled four times to the city’s sister city, Seligenstadt, Germany, all on his own dime. The most recent trip was a weeklong one in December.”

    Oh if we could all just up and leave to Germany whenever we wanted. Why was that city chosen to be Brookfield’s sister city? So it could become the new European traveling destination?

  2. There might be some good real estate opportunities in Seligenstadt.