Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. accused a county official of "penis envy" in a note to a conservative radio host, while suggesting racism is behind the official's ongoing dispute with him.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel columnist Daniel Bice reported on Tuesday that Clarke wrote to conservative radio host Charlie Sykes complaining about an email Bice received, written by a spokesperson for County Executive Chris Abele.

"Sounds like a bit of penis envy by Abele in responding to Bice," Clarke wrote, describing the spokesperson, Brendan Conway, as a "straw man." "Abele is not used to taking a back seat to anyone, especially some black conservative sheriff."

Conway's email to Bice, which ran in Bice's Feb. 24, column, dealt in part with Clarke's reluctance to comment on a county bill that would cut salaries for county board members by 50 percent.

"Considering the sheriff's track record of sharing his opinions with every reporter, talk show host and extremist with a microphone, I'm surprised he has not weighed in on this issue," Conway wrote.

But Conway's observation, Clarke said to Sykes, actually revealed Adele's true colors.

"When asked he continually looks into the camera of the media with that (expletive) eatin' grin of his and tells them that by cutting my budget, laying off deputies and usurping the constitutional authority of the sheriff that his actions are not personal," Clarke said. "Oh really? This e-mail to Bice tells a different story."

For his part, Adele refused to address Clarke's accusations.

"The Governor and all County Executives, Mayors and Sheriffs across the state are dealing with challenging budgets," he wrote to Bice on Tuesday. "We find the best solutions to tough problems when we work with each other professionally and treat each other with civility and respect. As always, I wish the Sheriff all the best."

[Image via Milwaukee County Sheriffs Office newsletter]