June 23, 2016
Mayor Tom Barrett delivered the following remarks to address the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision that eliminates the residency requirement for public employees:
“For 75 years, this community has had in effect an ordinance that required employees for the City of Milwaukee to be part of this community.
“It’s worked for 75 years. Every single City Council has respected that. Every single Mayor has respected that. Every single State Legislature has respected. Every single Governor, for 75 years, respected that.
“It is a sad day for the state because this Supreme Court has just ripped away local control in the State of Wisconsin.
“Obviously, I’m angry about this decision because of the impact that it has on this community. This is not the Wisconsin that we have lived in before, and the people of this state have to recognize the dangers when you have one political party who controls every lever of power. When that happens, you don’t have checks and you don’t have balances.
“The idea that simply because the legislature states that an issue is of statewide concern, thus making it an issue of statewide concern, is absurd on its face. Supreme Court decisions in the past have recognized that, but what we’re talking about here is a constitutional provision in the state constitution pertaining to local control that has now been eviscerated.
“What happened here was a special interest came in who has supported many legislators, the Governor, and many Supreme Court justices in the past, and they wanted their way. Local decision-making, local control and local home rule are now just principles that the Republicans pay lip-service to. Aligning with special interests and paying back political favors are now the real values of Wisconsin’s political power elite.
“Again, it’s a sad day for Milwaukee, but is an even sadder day for the State of Wisconsin.”