County exec answers questions about fired parks director

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by Vanessa Murphy

WAUWATOSA -- Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele answered questions Monday about the firing of popular Parks Director Sue Black.

"I get heat for plenty of decisions, " Abele told CBS 58. "I think that's part of the gig. The job isn't to make easy decisions or popular decisions, decisions easy or hard, but I think that they are the right decisions. I don't make them lightly. It's always about getting the best value, the best performance, and the best outcome."

Sue Black was fired last Thursday. She said Abele did not tell her why; Abele said he did.

Sources told CBS 58 that the decision had to do with the way Black has done county business. One source referred to it as the "fast and loose way" Black has done county business for years.

One recent example pertains to a contract involving Crystal Ridge Ski Hill in Franklin. Sources said it could result in a lawsuit which could cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Abele confirmed to CBS 58 that there were concerns, but he believes the issue has been resolved. He would not confirm whether this is why Black was terminated.

"As to whether that's the reason, personnel matters in any detail aren't something I comment on," Abele said.

CBS 58 reached out to Sue Black through her attorney, Frank Gimbel. He confirmed that Black does believe she was wrongfully terminated. When CBS 58 asked Abele whether he is concerned about a lawsuit, he said that he had no comment.

Abele appointed Jim Keegan, Black's second in command at the parks department, as the Interim Parks Director.

Abele said a nationwide search is underway for Black's permanent replacement.

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