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Board votes to put Hafemann in charge of HOC (UPDATE)

By: Beth Kevit, [email protected]//May 6, 2013//

Board votes to put Hafemann in charge of HOC (UPDATE)

By: Beth Kevit, [email protected]//May 6, 2013//

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Despite confirmation of an appeal from Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr.’s attorney, the Board of Supervisors voted to appoint Michael Hafemann superintendent of the House of Correction on Monday.

The Board voted in favor of Hafemann’s appointment by a 14-4 margin.

Clarke sued the county in December after the board passed a budget amendment to shift control of the HOC from the sheriff to a superintendent. Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Paul Van Grunsven dismissed that law suit last week, citing a lack of factual basis for Clarke’s argument that the HOC was a jail. Under state statute, either a sheriff or a superintendent may oversee a house of correction but only a sheriff may oversee a jail.

The special meeting was called after a flurry of activity Friday, said Supervisor Mark Borkowski, chairman of the judiciary committee, when Clarke transferred inmates, employees and K-9 units between the HOC and the jail. Borkowski said the county needs to confirm Hafemann immediately to avoid any gap in HOC oversight that could happen if Clarke were to walk away.

If Clarke does not walk away, Borkowski said, he anticipates a fight to get Hafemann inside the HOC.

“Does Clarke hand over the keys?” Borkowski asked after the meeting. “That’s what we’re all wondering here.”

Clarke’s attorney, Michael Whitcomb, told the board’s Judiciary, Safety and General Services Committee on Monday morning that he has filed a notice of appeal in the case and intends to ask Van Grunsven to put a hold on the transfer of control pending the appeal.

Whitcomb listed five questions for appellate review on the notice of appeal, which was filed Monday. Those questions are whether the HOC was a statutory house of correction before 2009, whether the board turned it into a jail through the 2009 budget, whether that budget legally transferred management of a house of correction to Clarke, and whether the 2013 budget legally can and did transfer management of a house of correction to the county executive.

Whitcomb said he intends to ask Van Grunsven to stay the transfer of HOC oversight pending the appeal.

A request for comment from the Office of the Sheriff was not immediately returned.

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