I took some small, brief comfort today in the fact that Curt Witynski, Assistant Director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, didn't include a reference to maintenance of effort as it applies to public library system membership in his testimony to the Special Committee on Local Government Consolidation. (Summary reproduced below.)
Not that I felt the issue was now off the table. Far from it. By focusing on the maintenance of effort requirement for emergency services spending (#4 below), he kept the spotlight off the library community for the time being. (Curiously, none of the committee members had any questions for Curt. Maybe everyone was eager to break for lunch.)
After the committee adjourned its morning session, I talked with Curt about the omission. He offered the reply I was anticipating. The members of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities wish to repeal any maintenance of effort requirements in the state statutes.
"Everything's being thrown into the same pot," he noted.
Apparently, the emergency services spending MOE strengthened the group's resolve to fight these 'mandates'. (The League, by the way, also considers the requirement for Grade 1 certification of public library directors to be a mandate.)
Bottom line: Expect legislation to repeal maintenance of effort requirements to be introduced in the next legislative session. After the November 2 elections, we'll need to determine who in the State Senate and Assembly are on WLA's side..
The Wisconsin Library Association's position on MOE is found here. Curt is familiar with and understands the reasons for our position. He served as a member of the 2002 Wisconsin Public Library Legislation and Funding Task Force.