Former Milwaukee County Executive Tom Ament died late Monday of complications from lung cancer, according to family members. He was 76.
Ament led the county from 1992 until 2002, when he resigned rather than face recall. Citizen groups collected signatures to force a recall election, after it was learned he and the Milwaukee County Board had approved a lucrative pension plan that would benefit top county officials. They would receive almost their full salary upon retirement plus a big lump sum payment.
Ament maintained that he did not realize the scope of the plan. His resignation led to then-Assemblyman Scott Walker running and being elected to succeed Ament. Voters recalled about half-dozen supervisors who had also approved the pension plan.
"In the entire history of the city, going back to 1846, there was no event that resulted in more politicians being thrown out of office," says longtime Milwaukee journalist Bruce Murphy, who wrote an obituary of Ament for UrbanMilwaukee.com.
Before winning the job of Milwaukee County Executive, Ament served as a county supervisor and was board chairman.