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On the Agenda: Dane County leaders accused of meeting secretly to kill ordinance

Personnel & Finance Committee
Tuesday, May 27, 5:30 p.m.
Room 325 of the City-County Building

On Sunday, former County Board Supv. Ashok Kumar sent out an angry press release accusing Chair Scott McDonell and Supv. Brett Hulsey of meeting "behind closed doors" on the Poverty Exemption Ordinance. The pair, says Kumar, decided that the ordinance should be referred back to the Public Protection and Judiciary Committee, which had already passed it.

The ordinance, which Kumar originally sponsored, would exempt convicts earning below 150% of the federal poverty level from having to pay about $600 in monthly fees for electronic monitoring or the county's alternatives to incarceration program. Kumar argues that sending the ordinance back to the committee, instead of to the County Board, will kill it.

"It's nothing more than ping-pong politics, moving it from committee to committee, instead of bring it up for a floor vote," says Kumar.

Hulsey is chair of the Personnel and Finance Committee, which will take up the ordinance tonight. He's recommending that the committee send it back to Public Protection and Judiciary for a second review. Hulsey says new information from the sheriff shows that 1 in 4 convicts are already exempted from the fees because of their low income.

"The problem's kind of been solved," says Hulsey, adding that Kumar's proposal will cost between $200,000 and $400,000 in overtime for the Sheriff's Office. "That is the cost of a lot of 911 communicators, which is frankly our top priority."

Hulsey also rejects Kumar's accusation that he and McDonell met privately to discuss killing the ordinance. Hulsey was not at a recent caucus meeting of liberal supervisors, where the ordinance was discussed. And neither was Kumar, he notes. "Ashok seems to know a lot about a meeting he didn't attend," says Hulsey.

Kumar says that "multiple supervisors" told him Hulsey attended the meeting and spoke on the ordinance. He says the ordinance is necessary because the county currently has no rules for who has to pay the fees. "There's no minimum standard for who's exempt and who's not," he says.

Tonight the Personnel and Finance Committee will decide whether to send the ordinance back to Public Protection and Judiciary or on to the County Board. But Hulsey says the bigger item on the agenda is a resolution to hire two more operators for the county's 911 Center. "Frankly, of all the things we have to worry about, this is the most important."

Transit & Parking Commission
Tuesday, May 27, 5 p.m.
Room 202 of the Madison Central Public Library

After the negative reaction to its proposed service changes last month, Madison Metro has come up with a new round of changes. The Transit and Parking Commission holds a special meeting on the proposal tonight. Route 22, which serves the north side, is now saved. But Metro is proposing cutting Route 13, which would eliminate service to the Alliant Energy Center, the Huber Center and neighborhoods south of Olin Avenue. Metro blames the town of Madison for the cut, saying the town refuses to pay $26,000 more a year to help maintain the service. Read all the proposed changes here.

Community Development Authority
Thursday, May 29, 4:30 p.m.
Room LL-130 of the Madison Municipal Building

The CDA holds a special meeting to discuss its takeover of the troubled Lake Point condo development, after the Milwaukee developer bailed. The CDA will also vote on issuing a request for proposals from contractors for its Allied Drive project. A measure by Ald. Brian Solomon, passed by the city council last week, requires that at least three workers from the neighborhood be hired to work on the project.

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