Dane County is in the midst of a controversy. One that did not need to happen.
When it comes to vital jobs in Dane County no one doubts the very important role played by the Director of Human Services. When it comes to powerful resumes many feel State Representative Shelia Stubbs is an ideal candidate for the open director position. But, equally important, especially in this time when our basic political institutions come under attack, there is no way not to be concerned about the tone and temperament Stubbs openly displayed when trying to secure the job after Dane County Executive Joe Parsi named her to the position.
Last week, Stubbs delivered an impassioned speech about the nomination to a gathering at End Times Ministries International, where she is a pastor and the church’s co-founder. A video of the speech was posted on Facebook last Wednesday and was viewed multiple times by a Wisconsin State Journal reporter, but it has since been deleted. (Let us be honest. Any time a video needs to be removed from social media underscores the fact there is something that is considered damming enough to require deletion.)
In the video, Stubbs indicated that she would not resign her Assembly seat if she’s confirmed to the county position and said that County Board members calling for her to resign the Assembly seat need to be “shooken up.” (After some highly publicized criticism of her attempt to keep both jobs as stated in the video, and of course both salaries which were un-stated, there was then the throwing of a nameless intern under the bus for having supposedly written a wrong statement from her office. It is unbecoming when an elected official so cavalierly can toss aside a worker in the office. That behavior should be a lesson for the Dane County Board as they proceed with this matter in the days ahead.)
“It’s going to get a little hot politically,” Stubbs said and called on those gathered to pressure the board to confirm her nomination.
“No one else had to go through the scrutiny that I am going through: The difference is I’m Black,” she said. (Skin color has nothing to do with the ethics problem of her voting on budgets and policies in the state assembly that may impact the job she would like to also hold as director. This should not be a complicated matter to ponder.)
“God gave me that job,” she said in the video. “All I need God’s people to do is pray, fast and believe with me, and I believe we’ll take it by force.” (This is where I threw the newspaper on the kitchen table and I think used a name for the one who was ‘giving her that job’ in vain.)
But those comments have prompted a rebuke from Patrick Miles, chair of the Dane County Board, which will decide whether to confirm Stubbs as head of the county DHS.
A speaker at the church prior to Stubbs said the congregation should “storm the Capitol” if Stubbs isn’t immediately confirmed and also accused Miles of stalling Stubbs’ confirmation.
Miles called the rhetoric from Stubbs and her church “disturbing” and said it echoes the run-up to the storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
“We’ve seen how such hyperbole and misinformation have led to threats against public servants and elected officials,” Miles said. “There’s no place for that kind of corrosive and dangerous behavior in county leadership, especially in the Human Services Department, which serves the most vulnerable populations.”
I absolutely echo the sentiments of Miles regarding Stubbs’ lack of proper tone and a clearer understanding of how the government has been under attack following the 2020 elections. I am perplexed how Stubbs with many years of political experience could lower herself to the words she chose to speak in her church or create an environment of tensions and strife as a tool so to secure the director’s job. That, in and of itself, is a most visible lack of sound temperament which places her at extreme odds with a job this county needs to be conducted with utmost credibility.
I well understand that some board members are coming under withering verbal attacks but they need to stand firm knowing, as do the residents of this county, that no one other than Shelia Stubbs created this controversy. One that did not need to happen. There are other competent people who vied for the director’s job and will handle the needs of the county with professionalism. Let us cut out the needless drama and get to the task this department undertakes to make our society stronger.