Jay, who has lived in the Waukesha area for over 20 years, is an active volunteer who has served on numerous local boards and committees. He's married to Colleen with three kids having gone through the Waukesha schools. He is the VP of a local distribution company.
Let me start with, I heartily endorsed past Mayor Larry Nelson for a variety of reasons.
My follow-up is - regardless of which individual is Mayor, I want them to succeed mightily. Waukesha needs strong, focused, Community leadership to continue moving forward.
Mayor Jeff Scrima won the election handily. He made many pledges to potential voters during the campaign. He talked often about his experienced advisors with the implications being they would guide him in areas where he lacked initial experience. He promised to take half the salary with the implication he would give the other half to the City. He stated there were options beyond Milwaukee water with the implications he would produce these potential solutions upon election.
Fast forward from the April election...He produces "his" expert on treating water to rid it of radium. Tick...Tick...The expert and Mayor forgot there is a second pressing water issue - Dwindling Supply. Ooops!
Mayor Scrima secretly tape records a conversation between himself and 2 of his top administrators. Lamely says he did it so he wouldn't "forget" anything. Tick...Tick... Which advisor told him it's a good idea to tape record internal convrsations without telling the other parties? And who thought this would build trust with these two or anyone else ever having "private" conversations with Mayor Scrima?
The new Mayor publicly challenges Common Council President Paul Ybarra over meeting with Milwaukee officials about the water issue. Tick...Tick... Did Mayor Scrima not think maybe someone in Milwaukee would hear about his disdain for Milwaukee during the campaign and now have reservations about him and his expressed views? Nothing gets things off to a rollicking start of a strong relationship like insulting the other party in advance...
Mayor Jeff Scrima sends what absolutely should have been an internal memo at best to the press before sending it to the individual it was intended for. This episode is my favorite (and most disappointing) because it was so transparently juvenile an attempt to discredit one of his senior staff. Tick...Tick... "Earth to Mayor Scrima - Don't try to manipulate the Press, and don't sabotage (beyond recovery) your senior staff relationships with insulting, childish manipulations!" As an FYI - The Waukesha City Attorney vindicated this staff person's actions after reviewing the Mayor's accusations.
It's June and the Mayor (elected in April) is quoted as saying he is looking at setting up an account at the Waukesha County Community Foundation where he will put the previously promised 1/2 of the Mayor's salary. Hmmm...I have had a Family Fund in the WCCF for a few years and it only took a couple days to set-up. Tick...Tick... Two things here for Mayor Scrima - I believe most voters believed you were only going to take half the salary from the get-go leaving the balance in the City fund for other needs. And/or...You must have one heck of an advisor guiding you on tax laws and charitable deductions. I do believe you will resolve this donating/givingback/timing/credibility gap, but you obviously never gave it a thought on "how" to do it when campaigning on it.
With everything else going on - Mayor Scrima reviews his priorities as well as the City's needs and then authorizes $4,000 to paint his office and waiting area to "freshen them up". Tick...Tick... In complete sincerity - "What were you thinking?!" Can this elected official be so politically naive (and clueless) as to think the timing was just about perfect to spend the City's money at this challenging time with, gulp, a non-Waukesha painting contractor?
Who would have scripted this mess? Progress comes from a unified vision and respect between parties. Integrity is recognized when a person's actions reflect their promises. Trust is earned, one step at a time, over time.
Tick...Tick...Tick... There is every reason, based on the sheer volume of arrogant Mayoral mistakes in a very short time, to now believe Mayor Scrima has alienated himself from everyone but his most ardent supporters. How does he now begin to act Mayoral instead of churlish and petty?
I fear the worst is yet to come, but would, at this juncture, welcome a classy public admission that "Things have gotten off to a rocky start, but I am going to re-double my own personal efforts to bring integrity back to the Office of Waukesha Mayor. I know my actions of the past 3 months were wrong, and I hope all parties join me in moving forward!" Anything short of this won't repair the damage inflicted. And, if this statement comes from the Mayor, I would be the first to publicly urge and support we all give Mayor Jeff another chance.
Please...please...Mr. Mayor - For the sake of the Community you say you care so much about - Defuse the time-bombs you continue to create.