August 12, 2015 – Milwaukee, Wis. – Community Relations – Social Development Commission (SDC) this week filed an emergency motion with Milwaukee County Circuit Court seeking a temporary restraining order against Milwaukee County. The injunction aims to stop Milwaukee County from proceeding with an award of contracts to UMOS and Community Advocates for the 2015-16 Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Contract.
Earlier this month, Department of Health and Human Services Director Hector Colon issued contracts to Community Advocates and UMOS under “emergency authority.” Colon violated state statute 59.52 (31), which requires that all contracts in excess of $300,000 receive approval from the full County Board of Supervisors. County Comptroller Scott Manske, who is required to countersign the contracts and is responsible for issuing funds, refused to issue the full funding request citing that the contracts had not received approval of the County Board.
At the July 30 meeting of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, the board voted against approval of the contracts for UMOS and Community Advocates, and in favor of extending the contracts of the current providers, SDC and Community Advocates, for a six-month period. The Department of Health and Human Services, who administers the WHEAP contract, was directed to obtain public input on the new service model they wish to implement and develop a new Request for Proposal (RFP) based on community feedback.
“SDC felt it was necessary to seek an injunction because the County’s administration blatantly violated what is clearly spelled out in our state statutes,” said SDC CEO George Hinton. “The administration is setting a dangerous precedent by acting as though the law is something that can be applied selectively.” Hinton went on to say, “Director Colon’s disregard for the decision made by our County Supervisors, and thus the will of the people, is deeply disturbing.”
A judge will hear SDC’s motion for injunctive relief on the afternoon of Friday, August 14.