By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
September 15, 2016
Milwaukee, Wisconsin - On Wednesday, the Milwaukee County Health and Human Needs Committee (MCHNC) on a vote of 3-2 rejected Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele's reappointment of Héctor Colón, as the Director of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for Milwaukee County. Milwaukee County Supervisors in the MCHNC opposing Colón's reappointment were Supreme Moore Omokunde (Chair), Sequana Taylor (Vice-chair) and Marina Dimitrijevic, those in favor were Deanna Alexander and Anthony Staskunas. The MCHNC recommendation will go before the full County Board next Thursday, September 22.
Colón has served five years as the director of the DHHS and last year in May 2015, Abele gave Colón a 39% raise, his annual salary increased from $126,318 to $175,000 a year, making Colón the highest paid executive at a Milwaukee County department.
Colón on Thursday released a statement on his Facebook account, "I am saddened by the decision made yesterday by the health and human needs committee. While I am still hopeful for a positive outcome next week, I am preparing myself for what ever decision is handed to me. I will leave knowing that significant progress in bettering the lives of the most vulnerable in Milwaukee County has occurred under my leadership — actually in a pretty extraordinary way. As I said in committee yesterday, this has been bigger than a job for me; it's part of my story - it has been a calling. I'm sure this experience is something I have to go through to grow as an individual. I was overwhelmed by the positive testimony that have personally witnessed, experienced and felt the positive affects our changes. I hope to be able to continue the work if it's according to God's plan. Thank you everyone for your support!!"
Abele supporters view Colón's rejection as a payback to County Executive Abele's power grab, ongoing feud and circumventing the authority of the Board to be involved in County property sales. In 2016, the County Board members had their annual wages caught in half by the Republican control legislature and the GOP gave Abele more authority over County management, especially engaging in private contracts without Board approval.
Under Director Colón's leadership throughout 2015 the, DHHS reached many outstanding milestones...
• At Behavioral Health, we closed our final long term care unit and expanded our support for
community based behavioral healthcare.
• With partners across business, government and nonprofit, our Housing Division launched Housing
First, an initiative to end chronic homelessness in Milwaukee County by 2018. We have already seen a
70% reduction in chronic homelessness.
• Disabilities Services began a tremendous program to provide employment opportunities for all
exiting high school students with a disability in Milwaukee County.
• Delinquency and Court Services accelerated our juvenile justice reforms while advancing data-driven
decision making tools and evidence-based practices that are yielding better outcomes and improved
The DHHS annual reports from 2012 to 2015 at http://bit.ly/2cuoZIV