Brookfield’s HRPS committee to meet this week

Dubbed “herpes” when it was renamed a few years ago, this committee is standing, but there are not regular meeting times. According to the city’s website members of this committee are:

Ald. Bob Reddin, Chairman (2nd)
Ald. Dan Sutton (1st)
Ald. Gary Mahkorn (5th)
Ald. Ron Balzer (3rd)
Ald. Jim Garvens (3rd)

(I added the districts they represent from memory. There’s a chance I got it wrong, but I think I’m ok.)

Here is the agenda for the meeting. It was emailed last Friday. You can’t find it on the city’s site at this writing because the library agenda for the same day is accidentally there instead.

CITY OF BROOKFIELD
HUMAN RESOURCES AND PUBLIC SAFETY
COMMITTEE MEETING

Brookfield City Hall
2000 N. Calhoun Road
Brookfield, WI 53005

Seligenstadt Conference Room
May 11, 2011
7:30 p.m.

1. Approval of the minutes of the April 5, 2011 meeting.

2. Discussion and possible action on a Legislative Referral from Alderman Lisa Mellone requesting review and modification of the City of Brookfield Travel and Transportation Expense Reimbursement Financial Policy.

3. Discussion and possible action regarding the proposed framework for fitness reimbursement pilot program.

4. Adjourn.

Oh, where to begin. First, I’ll admit it will be to try to get a copy of the paperwork committee members received. These are two very dicey agenda items. It won’t surprise me at all if staff his been really, really busy and didn’t have time to include anything in the aldermanic packets prior to the meeting time. That happens a lot when staff wants to push their opinion on something. It’s a favorite ploy out of the development office.

My guess is that in the 2nd item, Alderman Lisa Mellone, not a committee member but a member of the Finance Committee, made a recommendation that the travel and transportation policy be reviewed. And, knowing that L. Mellone (the two Mellones in general) is a fiscal hawk, I’d have to think she’s found something she’d like to clamp down on in departmental budgeting prior to the next budget’s formulation in the late summer.

Travel and transportation is a stupidly large black hole in the City of Brookfield budgeting bonanza. Former Mayor Kathryn Bloomberg implemented very generous guidelines initially to bolster the perception of running a professional government. Former Mayor Jeff Speaker saw nothing wrong with always increasing the numbers because, well, I’m still not sure he had a strong grasp of greater than or less than. Now, current Mayor Steve Ponto would do well to make his own quick review prior to Wednesday night’s committee meeting and make sure any proposed austerity passes that committee with a strong statement of support by those members.

That’s what Mayors who are elected to watch the people’s business do, you know. They are more careful spending other people’s money than they are their own. My experience is that Reddin, Mahkorn, and Garvens always vote to support staff and it would be a shame to see these two items come to the full council in a way that reflected poorly on the Mayor’s ability to lead.

Which brings me to the 3rd agenda item. I’m speculating here, but this sounds like (and indeed in Wisconsin open meeting laws an agenda description is supposed to give a good idea as to the item that will be discussed and/or acted upon) the City of Brookfield might be contemplating one of those we-love-our-employees-so-much-we’ll-pay-for-the-health-club-membership-they-rarely-use decisions.

If that’s the case (I used the word IF, more to come) I’d be so embarrassed for the staff person who brought this to the committee and even more embarrassed for the Mayor who supervises the staff person who brought this to committee. The Mayor Himself was just lamenting the other day how very difficult the budget will be under new state guidelines. This would be an egregious development under his watch, and one an opponent could easily use against him during any re-election campaign.

As I said, I will attempt to get documents. Now that I’ve brought it all up, maybe I can pitch it to one of those real news sources, and that other HuffPo thing trying to be a news source, to do a little background work as well.

Just remember, no one keeps an eye on Brookfield quite like your friendly housewife at Fairly Conservative. 😉 (Who has jet lag and thinks it’s already past noon.)